In this interview, AZoM speaks to Almut Wiltner of Institut fuer Holztechnologie Dresden gemeinnützige GmbH, about how GPC/SEC technology is increasingly being used in R&D departments of the wood industry.
Can you briefly describe IHD and which markets you operate in?
We are an independent German research facility acting worldwide and focusing our work on industry-related and application-oriented research and development. Thereby, we can look back on sixty years of experience and concentrate on
- Material properties and the use of material,
- Technological and product development,
- Environmental and health protection,
- Resource and energy efficiency.
We work across disciplines and act in a market-oriented and results-based manner. We efficiently use the funds available to us for research and development and for stimulating the branches of industry. Our partners appreciate the expertise and reliability of our staff.
We are internationally acknowledged as a first contact partner for anyone interested to know about how to optimally use wood and other related renewable raw materials.
We apply our knowledge and our experience across sectors in order to be able to react flexibly to future issues. This is based on our committed staff, our technical state-of-the-art equipment, a large range of topics and our cooperation with renowned project partners.
What is the scope of your current research?
The ‘Chemistry’ area at IHG consists of the subareas of Emissions from Products, Bonding Agents/Adhesives, Natural Oils, Wood Preservatives, and Quality Assurance. Therein the following special topics are a part of our current research:
- Modification of aminoplastic resins
- Application of natural raw materials
- Synthesis of bonding agent components
- Modification and drying of natural oils
- Impregnation and hydrophobing of wood
Do you expect your research to have a short-term impact on the wood industry?
Since we are focusing on industry-related and application-oriented research and development our research is often close to the market. Beside this, we deal with fundamental research topics. The results from this work will, therefore, have an impact later.
What analytical techniques do you consider the most useful and powerful in your particular field of work?
In our specialized field of research, the analytical techniques that are the most useful and powerful include GPC/SEC, GC, HPLC, ICP-OES, Rotary viscosity meter/rheometer and various spectroscopic techniques (FTIR, NIR, Raman, UV-VIS).
Why did you select a GPC/SEC system with MALS and DRI-Viscometer detectors to identify your parameters of interest?
In the research field of adhesives and resins, the molecules to be analyzed are no longer linear and well-defined. Therefore, we looked for a system and a possibility to measure not only the relative but also the real molar mass distribution. This useful capability in the system from Testa Analytical is allowing us to take a closer look into the real molar mass distribution of complex natural wood macromolecules including Lignins, Proteins, Starch and Cellulose.
Since the introduction of your GPC/SEC System, how well has the supplier technically supported you and have you experienced any instrumental problems which slowed down your work?
Our first Testa Analytical GPC/SEC system was installed in 2015. Since then they have not only provided knowledgeable support in terms of how to solve technical challenges but also convinced us with training and assistance to get the most out of our system. Based on these positive experiences we decided to install another Testa Analytical GPC/SEC system in 2017.
How has the GPC/SEC system had a positive impact on your work?
Several different research projects have been supported by our GPC/SEC systems. In these projects, we modified raw materials (e.g. proteins, starch) by reducing their molar masses or introducing new functionalities. The GPC/SEC system helps us to verify whether our modifications were successful or not. In addition, the GPC/SEC systems are also part of our daily quality assurance work in the field of aminoplastic resins or when we receive new natural raw materials from customers.
Where can our readers find out more about the IHD and the GPC/SEC system you use?
The best place to find out more about the IHD is through our website, notably at https://www.ihd-dresden.com/en/about-us/institute/, https://www.ihd-dresden.com/en/areas/chemistry/ and, https://www.ihd-dresden.com/en/knowledge-portal/publications-and-presentations/.
Further information about the GPC/SEC systems we use in our work can be found on the Testa Analytical website - https://www.testa-analytical.com/
About Almut Wiltner
Following achieving a diploma in Chemistry and a PhD in Physics, Dr Almut Wiltner has worked at prestigious research institutions including the Max-Planck-Institute for Plasma Physics in Garching, Germany and the Fraunhofer-Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM) in Dresden, Germany. Her current role as a senior researcher at the Institute of Wood Technology in Dresden, Germany involves research and development of advanced adhesives and resins based on natural raw materials. Furthermore, she is working on developing new extraction techniques and characterization methods for these exciting new materials.
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