Chemical and physical incorporation of bio-molecules into capillary-porous bio-materials for energy saving
Phase-change materials (PCM) are substances that undergo melting/solidifying at certain temperatures accompanied by storing and releasing heat. PCM perform best in small volumes and thus, they are usually encapsulated into cells. The main project objective is to utilize wood micro/macro structure (i.e. wood cell wall and lumen of fibers, charcoal, veneer and solid wood) as low-cost storage cell for encapsulation of renewable PCM of biological origin for energy saving. Fatty acids produced from plant oils, i.e. renewable and environmentally-friendly products, are chosen as PCM. The fatty acids play triple role; their initial use is for wood hydrophobization when they are transvinylated and covalently grafted to wood hydroxyl groups. The second technological step involves impregnation of the fatty acids into the cell lumen and stores them to gain heat during the phase transition. The third role of the fatty acids is to be involved in the synthesis of a composite conductive polymer that unites the manipulated fibers by addition of epoxidized plant oils and lignin as filler. Another part of the project aims at chemical, ultrastructural, mechanical characterization and durability of the new materials as well as a comprehensive study on the material’s thermal properties. The societal impact of the proposed project is to contribute for better valorization of biomaterials from renewable sources and energy-saving by introducing new bio-based materials for building purposes.