Preparation of synthetic wood composites using ionic liquids
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Synthetic wood composite films containing cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin, the three major components of natural wood, were prepared in a room temperature ionic liquid solvent, 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate, [EMIM][Ac]. Various synthetic wood composites were obtained by dissolution of individual wood components together with additives, including polyethylene glycol (PEG), chitosan, and multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) in [EMIM][Ac]. The addition of water affords a gel that was dried in either a low humidity environment or under vacuum. Synthetic wood films showed smoother surface textures, higher water resistance, and higher tensile strengths than cellulose films formed by the same methods. Tailor-made synthetic wood composites were also prepared having a variety of desirable properties, including antimicrobial activities, controlled hydro-phobicity/philicity, high relative dielectric constant, and a high degree of cohesiveness.
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