Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems

Wood Chemistry

The group is led by Professor Tapani Vuorinen and specializes in the chemistry and structure of wood, the mechanisms and kinetics of chemical reactions of wood components, and the use of vibrational spectroscopy in studying plant materials and their chemical reactions.
Wood acetate by Yesul Woo
Woodacetate by Yesul Woo, photo:Eeva Suorlahti

Our research projects:

1. CHEMARTS & DWoC 2.0

CHEMARTS is a long-term strategic collaboration between two Aalto University schools, The School of Chemical Technology (Aalto CHEM) and The School of Arts, Design and Architecture (Aalto ARTS). Read more about CHEMARTS here.

Design Driven Value Chains In The World Of Cellulose (DWoC) is a multidisciplinary research collaboration project focused on finding new & innovative applications for cellulosic materials. Read more about the DWoC research collaboration here.

2. Catalytic Bleaching

Pulp bleaching is a fundamentally important part of a modern state-of-the-art pulp mill. The work carried out within the Wood Chemistry research group concentrates on completely new catalytic pulp bleaching innovations which could potentially lead to sizeable economic and environmental benefits due to reduced raw material and energy needs.

3. Utilization of Willow Bark

Traditionally willow (Salix) has been studied mainly as an energy crop for the combined heat and power generation. The Wood Chemistry research group is conducting research on the alternative uses of willow bark with extremely interesting and promising results. The work is currently focusing on the chemical structure of the willow bark and its fractination to extractives and fibers.

4. Cell Wall Reactivity

Doctoral candidates from the Wood Chemistry research group are taking part in a research program focusing on the development of advanced scientific methods for analyzing cellulose fiber reactivity. Work carried out within this topic include accessibility measurements based on dynamic vapour sorption (DVS) with deuterium oxide (D2O) exchange as well as work on the reactivity of cellulose fibers with iodometric titration duting TEMPO+-mediated oxidation.

5. Cell Wall Structure

The cell wall structure studies carried out in the Wood Chemistry research group aim at revealing the wood ultrastucture i.e. the organization & distribution of subcellular components such as cellulose and lignin. The ultrastructure of wood has a huge influence on the various processes that are used to transform wood into different products as the tight arrangement of cell components limit their accessibility in different chemical and mechanical treatments.

6. Raman Spectroscopy

The Wood Chemistry research group of Professor Tapani Vuorinen is pioneering the utilization of the optical UV-Raman imaging to study the structure of cell wall in combination with highly advanced mathematical and computational modelling.

7. Modeling of Pulping & Bleaching

The extensive work carried out within the wood chemistry research group on modeling of pulping and bleaching processes has resulted in e.g. the development of a pulp bleaching model which is a powerful tool for scientists and engineers alike.

Related content:

New starts at the Kemira Boot Camp

Kemira together with the School of Chemical Engineering organized a Boot Camp for the students of Aalto University.

Kemira bootcamp 2020

Mixing people

Mixing people with different backgrounds is a nutrient for creativity, says professor Tapani Vuorinen.

man standing in a storage in front of the window, wearing a white laboratory coat, smiling

Professors Markus Linder and Tapani Vuorinen invited to the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters

Professor of Biomolecular Materials Markus Linder and Professor of Wood Chemistry Tapani Vuorinen from the School of Chemical Engineering at Aalto University have been elected as new members of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters.

Aalto logo

What’s cooking? Bio-based material experiments by CHEMARTS

From a bio-adhesive to reed panels and cellulose foam, a unique work created in collaboration with designers and biomaterial researchers shows what natural materials can do.

Bioslime by Chiao-wen Hsu & Yu Chen. Photo: Eeva Suorlahti

The CHEMARTS Cookbook

Inspiration for Material Enthusiasts

CHEMARTS Cookbook for material enthusiasts. Photo: Eeva Suorlahti

Students at UPM Biofore Boot Camp get to solve real-life problems

The multidisciplinary teams brainstormed new packaging solutions for paper rolls and learnt team work skills, networking skills and how to convincingly present one’s own ideas.

Winning team brainstorming new ideas for paper roll packaging. Photo: Veera Eskelin, UPM

Seed funding led to a multimillion strategic collaboration between designers and chemists

ChemArts, which brings together students of biomaterials and design, is already looking into business opportunities and preparing for world domination.

The rebirth of pulp

CHEMARTS brings together biomaterials and design students. Their encounters sprout ideas that can make the world a better place.

White Ioncell-F fibre being handled over a colourful cellulose aquarelle.

Catalyst could help bleach pulp in seconds

In addition to time, a promising invention in the field of chemical technology could also save energy and chemicals.

Catalyst could help bleach pulp in seconds photo: Heidi-Hanna Karhu

Latest publications:

Chromatographic recovery and purification of natural phytochemicals from underappreciated willow bark water extracts

Jinze Dou, Jari Heinonen, Tapani Vuorinen, Chunlin Xu, Tuomo Sainio 2021 Separation and Purification Technology

Self-Standing Lignin-Containing Willow Bark Nanocellulose Films for Oxygen Blocking and UV Shielding

Jinze Dou, Tapani Vuorinen, Hanna Koivula, Nina Forsman, Mika Sipponen, Sami Hietala 2021 ACS Applied Nano Materials

Separation of fiber bundles from willow bark using sodium bicarbonate and their novel use in yarns for superior UV protection and antibacterial performance

Jinze Dou, Marja Rissanen, Polina Ilina, Heidi Mäkkylä, Päivi Tammela, Simone Haslinger, Tapani Vuorinen 2021 Industrial Crops and Products

Tertiary amine-catalyzed generation of chlorine dioxide from hypochlorous acid and chlorite ions

Estefania Isaza Ferro, Jordan Perrin, Owain George John Dawson, Tapani Vuorinen 2021 Wood Science and Technology

Cellulose dissolution in aqueous NaOH–ZnO : cellulose reactivity and the role of ZnO

Saija Väisänen, Rubina Ajdary, Michael Altgen, Kaarlo Nieminen, Kavindra K. Kesari, Janne Ruokolainen, Orlando J. Rojas, Tapani Vuorinen 2021 Cellulose

Cellulose dissolution in aqueous NaOH–ZnO : effect of pulp pretreatment at macro and molecular levels

Saija Väisänen, Harri Kosonen, Matti Ristolainen, Tapani Vuorinen 2021 Cellulose

Detailed Modeling of Kraft Pulping Chemistry. Delignification

Olesya Fearon, Susanna Kuitunen, Kyösti Ruuttunen, Ville Alopaeus, Tapani Vuorinen 2020 Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research

Detailed modeling of the kraft pulping chemistry : carbohydrate reactions

Olesya Fearon, Vesa Nykänen, Susanna Kuitunen, Kyösti Ruuttunen, Raimo Alén, Ville Alopaeus, Tapani Vuorinen 2020 AIChE Journal

Fibrillation and characterization of lignin-containing neutral sulphite (NS) pulps rich in hemicelluloses and anionic charge

Saara Hanhikoski, Iina Solala, Panu Lahtinen, Klaus Niemelä, Tapani Vuorinen 2020 Cellulose
More information on our research in the Research database.
Research database
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