May 31, 2023
The main objective of the “Novel modification treatments to improve wood resistance against fire” (NOMOREFIRE) bilateral project between InnoRenew CoE and the Institute of Analytical Sciences and Physico-Chemistry for Environment and Materials (IPREM, France) is to study formulations for wood treatments based on bio-based ingredients and their effect on fireproofing properties. After one year of activities, three research visits have been completed. Two were to IPREM, and one was to InnoRenew CoE. During this period, the activities carried out have focused on obtaining ingredients from biomass sources, formulating coatings with protective characteristics against fire, and physical and thermal tests of the final products.
The first research activity was related to the obtention of bio-based products and the preparation of different configurations (solvents, organic-inorganic phase, natural additives). In short, industrial lignin and by-products from the extraction of tannins and resins were used. The lignin was functionalized, and different organic and inorganic additives were included in the formulations. This task was carried out mainly at IPREM by doctoral student Elsa Duret with the scientific support of Prof. Eduardo Robles, his supervisor, and Dr. Rene Herrera, InnoRenew CoE, during his first research visit to France. As the result of this visit, the main parameters of the resins (density, pH, viscosity, non-volatile compounds) were measured and integrated with infrared data.
The second activity was carried out at InnoRenew CoE during the IPREM researchers’ visit. The resins’ thermal events, such as melting, crystallization, and transition temperatures, were analyzed with TGA-DSC techniques; moreover, preparative chromatography was used to observe the distribution and quantification of the bio-based components. During the visit, the researchers worked on developing resins with additives that improve protection against fire, water, and UV light. As a result, two different products were obtained, one focused on fire-retardant properties and the other focused on reducing the leachability of products after their application on wood. Following the visit, wood samples were coated, and further tests against biological degradation were started at InnoRenew CoE and IPREM.
The third visit was dedicated to testing the performance of the protective formulations for wood. Wood samples were coated at different configurations (i.e., percentages) and tested for flammability (according to standard UL94) and leachability. Their performance will be compared with the results of commercial, not bio-based alternatives, also applied to wood. After evaluating the thermal and fireproofing properties of the coatings, the researchers will make a comprehensive analysis of the whole process and product performance by modern, non-destructive methods to exploit and disseminate the results.
Finally, this project has fostered scientific collaboration between the institutions by encouraging students’ participation.
Dr. Rene Herrera, InnoRenew CoE researcher