Reaction behavior of wood in an ionic liquid, 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride

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Reaction of Japanese beech (Fagus crenata) in an ionic liquid, 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride ([C2mim][Cl]), which can dissolve cellulose, was investigated. Although both lignin and polysaccharides such as cellulose and hemicelluloses can be liquefied at a treatment temperature of around 100°C, the liquefaction of polysaccharides mainly occurs at the beginning of the treatment with [C2mim][Cl]. Cellulose crystallinity in the wood was gradually broken down as the treatment continued. The solubilized polymers were depolymerized to low molecular weight compounds. The results indicate that [C2mim][Cl] is an effective solvent and reagent for the liquefaction of wood components and subsequent depolymerization of them.

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