Renewable High-Performance Materials from the Forest with Designed Degradation – Next Generation of Plastic (Re-Design Plastic)

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Sustainable material design can alleviate the environmental burden related to material waste. Use of available
and abundant resources, create materials that can be recycled, and final degradability in nature is central to
achieve this. The overarching aim of the proposal is to holistically design new materials from cellulose fibers by;
developing new sustainable modification strategies, evaluate material property space, recycling and degradation
characteristics combined with a theoretical predictive models. This will enable design of materials with predicted
properties and tailored degradation profiles. Combining recent advances in ring-opening reactions with state-of-the-
art knowledge in solvation or partial solvation of cellulose fibers will enable the creation of both thermoplastic
polymers and thermoplastic fibers. Degradation profile is tightly connected to the structure of the modification
and its ability to hydrolyze, but also to the ability for water to penetrate through the material. To get molecular
understanding on the degradation pathway, both degradation behavior and theoretical models on hydration will
be applied. This project provides a conceptual starting point on how we can make the next generation of plastic
from the forest designed for the future. These polymeric materials have the potential to rival traditional
petroleum based polymers in terms of properties, while at the same time being renewable, sustainable and
degradable.

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