Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Foster Agblevor


Foster Agblevor


Ronald Sims


Yujie Sun


Phenol-formaldehyde adhesives conventionally synthesized from fossil fuel resources pose two major concerns: sustainability issues and environmental concerns. The sustainability issues arise from the inevitable depletion of fossil fuel resources while
the environmental concerns, primarily, stem from the emission of volatile organic compounds. Thus, opting for alternative raw materials from renewable resources reduces the dependence on fossil fuels as well as promote the production of environmentally-friendly products.

The successful commercialization of bio-adhesives requires that the substitution of phenol with bio-oil during resin synthesis should be above 40%. In this study, catalytic pyrolysis oil produced from pinyon-juniper biomass and red mud alumina catalyst was used to synthesize phenolic resins. Also, the influence of adhesive synthesis parameters on the degree of phenol substitution with pinyon-juniper bio-oil, the strength of adhesives, and the concentration of free formaldehyde and free phenol contents were examined.

Phenol was successfully substituted with 80% pinyon-juniper bio-oil. The adhesive strengths of pinyon-juniper substituted adhesives were comparable to the
adhesive strengths obtained for pure phenol-formaldehyde adhesives. The phenol concentrations of pinyon-juniper substituted adhesives were observed to be lower in comparison to pure phenol-formaldehyde adhesives.