Self-assembly Fundamentals in the Reconstruction of Lignocellulosic Materials: A Review
Keywords:Thermodynamics, Trapped non-equilibrium states, Self-organization, Cellulose crystal formation, Hydrogen bonds, Surface activity, Nanostructures, Bonding, Composites
This review article considers processes by which the main components of wood have been reported to arrange themselves into various kinds of organized structures, at least to a partial extent. The biosynthesis of wood provides the clearest examples of such self-organization. For example, even before a cellulose macromolecule has been completely synthesized in a plant organism, the leading parts of the polymer chains already will have assembled themselves into organized crystals, i.e., nano-fibrils. This review then considers a challenge that faces industrial engineers: how to emulate the great success of natural systems when attempting to achieve favorable materials properties, process efficiency, and environmental friendliness when developing new engineered wood structures, barrier films, and other desired products composed of lignocellulosic materials. Based on the reviewed literature, it appears that the main chemical components of wood, even after they have been isolated from each other, still have a remnant of their initial tendencies to come back together in a somewhat non-random fashion, following mechanisms that can be favorable for the production of engineered materials having potentially useful functions.