Participation of Alex Mary at the 2024 TRFA Annual meeting!

10 May 2024

Alex Mary, a PhD student in wood and bio-based materials engineering under the expert guidance of Pierre Blanchet and Véronic Landry, had the opportunity to attend the  « Thermoset Resin Formulators Association (TRFA) 2024 Annual Meeting », held on May 6-9, 2024 in Philadelphia. Alex presented her innovative research on « Upcycling of Protein Concentrates From Industrial Byproducts Into Polyurethane Wood Adhesives », winner of the « 2024 Excellence in Thermoset Polymer Research Award Honorable Mention ».

This opportunity enabled Alex to share her discoveries and scientific advances with an international audience of peers and industry professionals through an oral presentation, broadening her areas of expertise and networks of contacts.

Financial support from the CRMR’s Student Mobility Program, the TRFA 2024 Annual Meeting and Laval University’s International Office played a crucial role in making this enriching experience a reality. Thanks to this financial support, Alex was able to represent her institution and actively contribute to the advancement of research in her field. Her commitment and scientific excellence were recognized by the « 2024 Excellence in Thermoset Polymer Research Award Honorable Mention, testifying to the quality of her research and her contribution to the scientific community.

Congratulations to Alex on this achievement, and we wish him every success and prosperity in her academic and professional career!

Abstract 

Wood structures generally rely on synthetic adhesives for their strength and versatility. However, environmental concerns linked to the chemical composition of these adhesives have stimulated the search for more environmentally friendly adhesives. Researchers have explored replacing petroleum-based constituents with natural sources such as lignins, tannins, and proteins. Of these alternatives, proteins, being biological macromolecules, are recognized for their capacity to enhance adhesion to wood substrates. This study delves into the development of protein-based adhesives derived from diverse sources, including soybean meal, microbrewery spent grains, shrimp shells, and skim milk powder. These raw materials were subjected to mild alkaline conditions to yield protein concentrates. The resulting adhesives were formulated at various protein content levels: 5%, 10%, 15%, and 20%. The study’s findings demonstrate that the incorporation of proteins into the polyurethane adhesive system not only preserves but also augments adhesive properties. This enhancement encompasses deeper penetration into wood substrates and an overall improvement in mechanical strength. These results underscore the promising potential of proteins as a sustainable alternative to petroleum-based polyols in adhesive formulations.

Reference of the winning article presented at the event

Mary, A., Blanchet, P., Pepin, S., Chamberland, J., & Landry, V. (2024). Upcycling of Protein Concentrates from Industrial Byproducts into Polyurethane Wood Adhesives. BioResources19(1).DOI:10.15376/biores.19.1.1165-1189.


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