New wet-web additive research receives NSERC Innovation Award
October 20, 2009 By Pulp & Paper Canada
Wei Chen, a researcher and recent PhD graduate of the Department of Chemical Engineering at McMaster Universit…
Wei Chen, a researcher and recent PhD graduate of the Department of Chemical Engineering at McMaster University, was awarded a $5,000 second place prize in the NSERC Innovation Challenge Awards on October 19 at a gala ceremony in Ottawa.
The NSERC Innovation Challenge Awards honour graduate students who have demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit by identifying ways in which their research thesis results can be developed into products or services.
Dr. Chen has invented a new chemical additive that increases the wet-web strength of paper while preserving recyclability and using less water than is typical in the paper making industry. It provides a potential green solution to address the critical issue of wet-web paper breakage.
Dr. Chen studied how linear polyvinylamine derivatized with phenylboronic acid improved the instantaneous wet adhesion between cellulose surfaces. Earlier research concluded that polyvinylamine microgels are better paper strength-enhancing polymers than linear polymer. He developed a microgel production method that makes them more uniform and demonstrates that they provide exceptionally strong adhesion.
This invention could have major implications for recycling. Much less energy would be required to recycle paper products made with boronic acid-based additives compared to products made with traditional additives.
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