Pointe-Claire, Canada
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Li Y.-F.,Northeast Forestry University | Liu Y.-X.,Northeast Forestry University | Wang X.-M.,FP Innovations | Wu Q.-L.,Louisiana State University | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Applied Polymer Science | Year: 2011

Wood-polymer composites (WPCs) were prepared from poplar wood (P. ussuriensis Komarov) in a two-step procedure. Maleic anhydride (MAN) was first dissolved in acetone and impregnated into wood; this was followed by a heat process; and then, glycidyl methacrylate (GMA) and styrene (St) were further impregnated into the MAN-treated wood, followed by a second thermal treatment. Finally, the novel WPC was fabricated. The reactions occurring in the WPC, the aggregation of the resulting polymers, and their interaction with the wood substrate were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and dynamic mechanical analysis. The performance of WPC was also evaluated in terms of the mechanical properties and durability, which were then correlated with the structural analysis of the WPC. The test results show that MAN and GMA/St chemically reacted with the wood cell walls in sequence, and the quantity of hydroxyl groups in the wood cell walls was evidently reduced. Meanwhile, St copolymerized with GMA or MAN, and the resulting polymers mainly filled in the wood cell lumen in an amorphous form, tightly contacting the wood cell walls without noticeable gaps. As a result, the mechanical properties, decay resistance, and dimensional stability of the WPC were remarkably improved over those of the untreated wood, and its glass-transition temperature also increased. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Dwivedi P.,Yale University | Bailis R.,Yale University | Bush T.G.,University of Florida | Marinescu M.,FP Innovations
Bioenergy Research | Year: 2011

This study attempts to determine global warming impact (GWI) of imported wood pellets from the Southern United States for electricity production in The Netherlands. An attempt is also made to determine GWI of utilizing produced wood pellets within the state of Florida for electricity generation instead of exports. A life-cycle approach is adopted to determine overall GWIs of both the cases. Economic objectives of forest landowners are also incorporated to determine biomass (pulpwood and harvesting residues) availability from a hectare of slash pine plantation. The GWI of a unit of electricity produced at a power plant located at Geertruidenberg, The Netherlands and Gainesville, Florida was 296.4 and 177.5 g of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas, respectively. An overall saving of 72.6% in greenhouse gas emissions was estimated for every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated using imported wood pellets in The Netherlands when compared with coal-based electricity. This value was found to be 82.4% if produced wood pellets are utilized within Florida for electricity generation instead of exports. A need exists to evaluate the potential of other feedstocks for wood pellet production like understory forest biomass. Additionally, macroeconomic and ecological impacts of utilizing forest biomass for wood pellet production needs to be quantified. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.


Ralevic P.,University of Toronto | Ryans M.,FP Innovations | Cormier D.,FP Innovations
Forestry Chronicle | Year: 2010

Sustainability assessments and biomass inventories often neglect the operational challenges involved in the harvesting of forest biomass for bioenergy. Thus, concerns that increasing demands for biomass will lead to greater environmental impacts, particularly on soil productivity, need to be considered from an operations perspective that takes into consideration the technical and cost limitations to biomass recovery. We examine operational forest biomass recovery potential of harvest residue (slash) for three sites located north of Kapuskasing, Ontario. The sites are in the Northern Claybelt, which is in the boreal forest and is comprised primarily of lowland black spruce and upland mixedwoods. Supply flows of harvest residues estimated using the Biomass Opportunity Supply Model (BiOS), developed by FPInnovations - Feric Division are compared to validation data collected from the sites. Costs for the supply flows were also estimated using BiOS. After harvesting limitations and planned retentions (such as wildlife trees) were taken into consideration, 41% (41.2 ovendry tonnes/ha) and 59% (99.1 odt/ha) of total above-ground biomass were estimated to remain on site in two mixedwood blocks, and 25% (25.3 odt/ha) in a black spruce block. Thus, considerable biomass was left on the forest floor, contrary to popular perceptions that bioenergy harvesting will result in a "clearing" or potential "vacuuming" of the forest floor. The delivered cost was $53/odt ($2.86/GJ energy equivalent) and $58/odt ($3.14/GJ) for the two upland sites and $59/odt ($3.19/GJ) for the lowland black spruce site. This is higher than conventional hog fuel costs. Although operational and cost considerations thus limit harvest residue recovery, and although there are a number of operational factors that can minimize environmental impacts on soils and biodiversity, sustainable biomass removal guidelines still need to be implemented on sites sensitive to soil damage and nutrient removal.


Shopsowitz K.E.,University of British Columbia | Hamad W.Y.,FP Innovations | MacLachlan M.J.,University of British Columbia
Journal of the American Chemical Society | Year: 2012

Nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) has been used to template ethylene-bridged mesoporous organosilica films with long-range chirality and photonic properties. The structural color of the organosilica films results from their chiral nematic ordering, can be varied across the entire visible spectrum, and responds to the presence of chemicals within the mesopores. To synthesize these materials, acid hydrolysis was used to remove the NCC template without disrupting the organosilica framework. The resulting mesoporous organosilica films are much more flexible than brittle mesoporous silica films templated by NCC. These materials are the first of a novel family of chiral mesoporous organosilicas with photonic properties. © 2011 American Chemical Society.


Human walking generates vibrations and impact sound in lightweight wood-joisted floor-ceiling assemblies. Design methods were developed to successfully control the feelable vibrations. Construction solutions and materials have been developed to successfully control high frequency impact sound transmission, but not low-frequency footstep noise. This paper presents two cases of unsatisfactory low-frequency footstep noise transmission in wood-framed floor-ceiling assemblies and discusses the limited remedies available. It also describes a research plan for unlocking the secret of low-frequency footstep impact sound transmission through wood floor-ceiling assemblies, and for developing proper construction solutions to address this issue.


Li Y.,University of British Columbia | Ko F.K.,University of British Columbia | Hamad W.Y.,FP Innovations
Biomacromolecules | Year: 2013

Electrospinning of cellulose nanocrystals (CNC)/poly(lactic acid) (PLA) emulsions has been demonstrated to be an effective dispersion and alignment method to control assembly of CNC into continuous composite ultrafine fibers. CNC-PLA nanocomposite random-fiber mats and aligned-fiber yarns were prepared by emulsion electrospinning. A dispersed phase of CNC aqueous suspension and an immiscible continuous phase of PLA solution comprised the CNC-PLA water-in-oil (W/O) emulsion system. Under a set of specific conditions, the as-spun composite ultrafine fibers assumed core-shell or hollow structures. In these structures, CNCs were aligned along the core in the core-shell case, or on the wall of the hollow cylinder in the hollow fiber case. CNCs act as nucleating agents influencing PLA crystallinity, and improve the strength and stiffness of electrospun composite fibers. The effects of emulsion droplet size on fiber structural formation and CNC distribution within the electrospun fibers have been carefully examined. © 2013 American Chemical Society.


Lazarescu C.,University of British Columbia | Avramidis S.,University of British Columbia | Oliveira L.,FP Innovations
Drying Technology | Year: 2010

This article reports on the effect of tensile stresses, temperature, and target moisture content on shrinkage behavior of short and thin Western hemlock specimens as part of a series of papers dealing with these issues. All tests were performed perpendicular to fiber grain while drying at 40, 60, and 80°C to 17, 11, and 5% final moisture contents at each temperature. Four matched specimens were subjected to different restraints during each drying experiment, namely, zero restraint (free shrinkage), two static restraints of 3 and 6 daN and a dynamic restraint controlled by the drying process. The resulting shrinkage was measured by pairs of resistive transducers located on the middle part of each specimen. Shrinkage percentages, obtained after the tensile stress was released and all the viscoelastic strain recovered, were proven to be a strong function of stress value, moisture, and temperature. The analytical fit yielded high coefficients of determination (R2=0.83-0.85, p<0.05) for both structural directions tangential and radial, respectively. © 2010 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


Moiseev D.V.,University of British Columbia | James B.R.,University of British Columbia | Hu T.Q.,FP Innovations
Phosphorus, Sulfur and Silicon and the Related Elements | Year: 2012

With the aim of learning about the synergistic effect of a combination of (HOCH 2O 4 for the bleaching of mechanical pulps, reactions of (HOCH 2) 3P (and its associated precursor, (HOCH 2) 4P +Cl -) with Na 2S 2O 4 were studied in aqueous media under Ar and in air. The secondary phosphine (HOCH 2) 2PH is the major product in a 1:1 reaction of (HOCH 2) 3P and Na 2S 2O 4 under Ar, the formaldehyde being removed in the form of HOCH 2SO 3Na and HOCH 2SO 2Na; the latter is Rongalite, itself an industrial bleaching agent. Significant amounts of the primary phosphine HOCH 2PH 2 are also seen. When the reaction is performed in air, the oxide (HOCH 2) 2P(O)H is the main product. Reaction of (HOCH 2) 4P +Cl - with Na 2S 2O 4 (even under Ar) leads to solely the oxidation products: (HOCH 2) 3PO, (HOCH 2) 3PS, and (HOCH 2) 2P(O)OH. 31P{ 1H} and 1H NMR spectral data for secondary and primary (hydroxymethyl)phosphines and their oxidation products are reported for the first time. The toxicity of the primary and secondary phosphines is likely to curtail their use in commercial bleaching processes. Supplemental materials are available for this article. Go to the publisher's online edition of Phosphorus, Sulfur, and Silicon and the Related Elements to view the free supplemental file. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


Trademark
Fp Innovations | Date: 2011-05-09

Biological liquid preparations to be applied to wood and lumber to reduce moisture content.


News Article | September 14, 2016
Site: motherboard.vice.com

This is the third installment in a series of dispatches. Follow along here. NORMAN WELLS, NWT—In mid-July, about halfway through a 1,200-mile canoe trip down the Mackenzie River, I awoke to find a layer of ash covering my tent. The source was obvious: The day before I had paddled past a growing forest fire just south and east of the oil town of Norman Wells. The fire looked relatively small and manageable—a few smoking pockets in the black spruce that hazed the sky a sickly brown—but it was fought with the ferocity of a major blaze. At least three orange airplanes dropped retardant in a continuous circuit, helicopters toted huge buckets of water via steel cables attached to their undersides, and a local brushfire crew worked all day to steer the blaze away from the town. Norman Wells is the hub for drilling and refining in the Mackenzie Valley, and any fire, even a small one, could potentially threaten the pipeline running to northern Alberta. It was jarring, the sudden density of people and materiel. The week prior, I went days without seeing a single other soul. It was the first live fire I saw, though I had been prepared for far worse. In 2014, the Northwest Territories had their worst fire season in thirty years; the government spent eight times its planned firefighting budget but still lost 3.5 million hectares of forest, an area the size of New Jersey and Massachusetts combined. Read more: Wildfire Researchers Tell Us Why Our Future Is Flames That year, in Jean Marie River, a small community in the southern Mackenzie Valley, fire raged all about the town, to the west, the east, even on the opposite shore. "There was a lightning strike across the river," said Rufus Sanguez, a Dene man who saw the fire start. When I met Rufus, he was fixing his boat on shore, less than a mile from the skeletal remains of the burn. "Big billowy smoke, then flame. Sixty feet over the black spruce. They told the elders they couldn't go outside. For the air quality." Jean Marie is so small, they had no hope of fighting the fire themselves. When I asked Rufus if he worried about the blaze enveloping the town, he shrugged. He could always temporarily escape on his boat, I realized. As human settlements push further into wilderness, as that wilderness warms and dries with climate change, the risk to people and property will only grow. Which is where Jim Thomasson, a wildfire researcher with the non-profit FP Innovations, comes in. Thomasson is a middle-aged engineer, glasses and stubbly beard, a smiling but intense look. His work has taken him around the world, from de-mining operations in Afghanistan to forestry in Sweden. He and I met in Fort Providence, just upriver of Jean Marie, where he was living and working for the summer. Thomasson needs the space only the Northwest Territories can provide, because, see, Thomasson sets fires for a living now. The biggest, nastiest, hottest fires he can, and then he lets them burn. "Up here we can go to the 95th percentile, the worst conditions," Thomasson told me. In other words, there may be no better place in the world to do forest fire research than the vast Northwest Territories. At a specially prepared site just north of Fort Providence, away from anything valuable—people, property, commercial timber, traditional hunting lands—and where the potential for escape is low, Thomasson and his team will spend years preparing a chunk of forest for extreme fire. Two decades ago, the same site was used for the International Crown Fire Modeling Experiment, a series of massive burns that proved a watershed in scientists' understanding of how wildfire moves from treetop to treetop in extreme conditions. Today, the research has shifted to mitigation strategies. "We're looking at different community protection ideas," Thomasson said. The United States and Canada have developed building codes and standards for homes placed in high risk areas. Researchers like Thomasson test those standards, to see whether they hold up when fires are at their worst. This summer, humidity, temperature, and wind conditions were finally right for Thomasson and his team to conduct two burns on portions of the forest they had prepped, four years before. One site tested whether strips of mulch, spread across the ground between trees as one would see on a walking path at the local playground, would reduce the intensity of crown fire. That proved successful. Less useful was a foil wrap system attached to the exterior of buildings. The year before, NASA had tested a similar system as an emergency shelter for firefighters, using the skin off re-entry vehicles. But in Thomassan's test, the foil protected the interior of the structure only if the fire was far enough away. Too close, and buildings become baked potatoes. In all fairness, Thomassan's measurement equipment, set up inside the burn site, didn't fare much better. "We melted the sacrificial wide angle adapters off five of eight cameras!" he said with pride. Such research is proving more and more relevant, as fires are becoming disaster-sized events that threaten entire communities. "Look at Fort McMurray," Thomassan said, referencing the May wildfire that grew into the most expensive in Canadian history; 88,000 people had to be evacuated in just three hours. "Who would have thought that a fire that was only a couple hundred hectares would grow exponentially and go full bore into a town like that?" Travel support for this series was provided by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter.

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