Wood biorefining currently involves large-scale industrial processes where a notable portion of raw materials, namely hemicelluloses and lignin, are either lost with the process water, degraded, or burnt for energy. Value-added utilization of polymeric hemicelluloses is challenging due to their intermediate molar mass and the presence of other wood components, such as phenolic residues or wood extractives. Oil-in-water (O/W) emulsions represent a diverse and abundant class of applications in which the natural properties of wood hemicelluloses are beneficial. In the current work, we present highly promising new technical alkyd paint emulsion systems stabilized with hardwood glucuronoxylans (GX) and softwood galactoglucomannans (GGM). Samples from three isolation methods and their further fractionation by ethanol precipitation were systematically compared with regard to hemicellulose composition, interfacial activity, and functionality in emulsions. Emulsification of alkyd resins was successful with both GX and GGM obtained by various biorefining strategies. The highest emulsion stability over storage was achieved using crude non-purified GX and GGM fractions, and was correlated with the presence of phenolic compounds and extractives, interfacial activity, and small droplet size. Hardwood GX and softwood GGM are envisioned as natural emulsifiers of alkyd O/W emulsions, which are examples of diverse and abundantly-used technical dispersions. This study can be utilized as a guideline for targeted extraction of hemicelluloses with desired functionality, and as a protocol for developing environmentally-compatible industrial dispersions.
Mikkonen, K. S., Kirjoranta, S., Xu, C., Hemming, J., Pranovich, A., Bhattarai, M., … Willför, S. (2019). Environmentally-compatible alkyd paints stabilized by wood hemicelluloses. Industrial Crops and Products, 133, 212–220. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indcrop.2019.03.017