|The LigniOx report can be obtained at www.vttresearch.com.|
A Finland research and technology specialist serving Europe’s forested Nordic countries cites a technique to convert lignin, a wood fiber binder and pulp mill byproduct, to a plasticizing agent competitive with synthetic and lignosulphonate-based concrete admixtures.
VTT Technical Research Centre’s LigniOx technology converts lignin to a water-soluble agent through molecular oxygen, and is described in Senior Scientist Anna Kalliola’s 2015 doctoral thesis. In fresh concrete, VTT contends, LigniOx-derived solution outperforms commercial lignosulphonate-based plasticizer and provides a promising alternative to synthetic superplasticizers. It enables use of small volumes of water in a concrete mix design, producing a highly workable paste that hardens into a strong final product.
The oxidizing technology can be used to process different kinds of lignins; only the conditions need be tailored for each type. VTT’s further development projects are focused on making the LigniOx solution competitive against synthetic products and exploring its commercial potential. The firm cites a global market for lignin-based plasticizers of upward of 19 million tons annually, developing countries’ growth fueling higher demand.
In her detailed VTT report, “Chemical and enzymatic oxidation using molecular oxygen as a means to valorize technical lignins for material applications,” Dr. Kalliola concludes, “The promising results of applying the alkali-O2 oxidized lignin for concrete plasticizing encourage continuing the investigations. In these studies, it is important to emphasize more the structure-function relationship of the oxidized lignin, as well as its impact on cement hydration.”
MOISTURE GAUGE TAKES BAUMA AWARD
Six companies and research institutions received the bauma 2016 Innovation Award during a festive ceremony the night before the massive trade fair opened last month in Munich. The bauma Innovation Award is “a reflection of the innovativeness of the German and international construction, building material and mining machine industry,” Bavarian Economics Minister Ilse Aigner said in a nod to winning companies and other competition participants. “It serves not only as a demonstration of what is technically feasible, but also points the way to the future.”
The award is presented as part of the world’s leading trade fair for construction machinery, building material machines, mining machines, construction vehicles and construction equipment. In the components category, Imko GmbH was recognized for its Sono-WZ, a handheld device that can quickly, accurately and easily measure the moisture content of fresh concrete. Once mix parameters are entered, a probe is inserted into the concrete several times, followed by display of a moisture level reading.
Information on the Sono-WZ water/cement ratio analyzer and other Imko moisture measurement devices can be obtained at www.imko.de/en.