Variable temperature solid-state NMR spectral and relaxation analyses of the impregnation of polyethylene glycol (PEG) into coniferous wood†
To investigate the behaviours of polyethylene glycol (PEG) and its interaction with biomass constituents in coniferous wood (Japanese cypress), variable temperature solid-state NMR spectra and relaxation times were measured from 20–80 °C. Signal intensities in the 1H and 13C PST-MAS NMR spectra changed depending on both the measurement temperature and the melting point of the impregnated PEG. In the 13C CP-MAS NMR spectra with increasing temperature, although the signal intensities of biomass constituents slightly decreased, signal intensities of PEG molecules in the cypress maximized at 80 °C. PEG impregnation into cypress decreased the T1H values at 80 °C for short to medium chain PEG in the liquid phase while it decreased T1H values at ambient temperature for long chain PEG in the solid phase because the interactions of PEG molecules and the biomass constituents of coniferous wood were different for different chain lengths of the PEG. These variable temperature measurements of both solid-state NMR spectra and relaxation time indicated that impregnation of longer chain PEG molecules produced higher hydrophobicity because of the increased steric hinderance of PEG attached to carbohydrates. The variable temperature measurements also showed that long chain PEG molecules were restricted to the lumen while short to medium chain length PEG molecules infiltrated into the intercellular region of the cell wall in addition to the lumen. These results obtained from the variable temperature NMR measurements were also supported by ATR-IR spectroscopy analyses.