Starting its work in September 2008, a new Christian Doppler Lab for „Advanced cellulose chemistry and analytics“ (Christian-Doppler-Labor für „Moderne Cellulosechemie und –analytik“) was founded at the Department of Chemistry, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU). Headed by Univ.Prof. Dr. Thomas Rosenau and Ao.Univ.Prof. Dr. Antje Potthast the CD lab will focus on scientific topics and open questions around the renewable resource cellulose.
Cellulose is the most abundant natural and renewable polymer. Another superlative is its importance as natural product, both with regard to its economic value and to the breadth of its applications. It is the basis of entire industries, such as the paper industry and major parts of the textile industry. With the increasing focus on natural resources and sustainability issues, also cellulose has been undergoing a surge of interest from both the academic viewpoint and the industrial perspective. In addition to the classical cellulose chemistry which is mainly connected with large-scale pulping, bleaching and paper-making / fiber-making techniques, current cellulose research is directed towards an “advanced understanding and advanced applications of this most important bioresource” (Panel of the 2nd International Cellulose Conference, 2007). This includes the following “hot” scientific topics on which the new CD-laboratory for Advanced Cellulose Chemistry and Analytics will focus:
Molecular-level characterization of celluloses beyond the classical sum parameters. Advanced understanding of cellulose swelling and dissolution on a molecular basis. Highly functionalized cellulosic products taking advantage of the intrinsic properties of the polymer in combination with modern modifying reagents. Advanced understanding of cellulose degradation and aging as the basis to extend lifecycles and maintain the value of historic cellulosic products and cultural heritage.
The research work of the CD lab is conducted in four modules, each one being assigned to one of the four industrial partners. Besides the Kemira GmbH (Krems), companies from Germany (CTI Development GmbH, Mannheim, Preservation Acadamy GmbH, Leipzig, SCA Mannheim) are collaborating within the framework of the CD lab. The Austrian Lenzing AG is currently preparing a fifth module and will soon join the lab.
Module 1: “Non-conventional celluloses from renewable resources: structure and processability”
Module 2: “Novel sizing agents based on renewable resources and their binding mode to cellulose”
Module 3: “Mass deacidification and damage control of valuable historic paper objects”
Module 4: “Intelligent cellulosic tissue modified with advanced slow- release reagents”
The new CD lab is placed in the framework of an active scientific environment at the Department of Chemistry at BOKU Vienna and is embedded in a network of active national and international cooperation within the scientific cellulose community, such as the European Polysaccharide Network of Excellence (EPNOE). Cutting-edge research will be performed both to advance the current state of knowledge on fundamental cellulose chemistry and analytics and to foster the collaboration with the industrial partners in the fields of modern applied aspects of cellulose science. For that purpose, the core team around the two lab directors Prof. Rosenau and Prof. Potthast, the expert for conservation science Dr. Ute Henniges, and the analytics expert Dr. Falk Liebner, is complemented by four PhD students – one per module – as well as diploma students and technicians. The start-up period and knowledge transfer times are pleasantly short: first scientific results from the CD-lab will already be presented during the official opening on Sept. 23 (10.30, Ort: Universität für Bodenkultur Wien, Muthgasse 18, Hörsaal XXI)
Univ.Prof. Dr. Thomas Rosenau Ao.Univ.Prof. Dr. Antje Potthast c/o CD-Labor für Moderne Cellulosechemie und –analytik Universität für Bodenkultur Wien Department für Chemie Muthgasse 18 1190 Wien Tel. +43-1-36006 6071 Fax +43-1-36006 6059