Linear programming is a technique used to determine the best (or optimal) solution to a problem where there are a number of competing and usually interrelated choices. The technique requires that each restriction on the problem being modeled be formulated as a linear equation. The model consists of a set of linear equations with more unknowns than equations and thus there are many possible solutions. In order to determine the best of these solutions, it is necessary to decide which criteria will be used to determine the best. Once the criteria (usually maximum profit or minimum cost) is chosen, an equation is set up giving the amount each variable (or activity) contributes to the criteria. The linear program then determines which solution will maximize or minimize this criteria. The LP described in this write up was written to determine the best process and set of process conditions for converting steam exploded Aspen wood into a variety of chemical feedstocks. The LP is designed to maximize profit based on the sales value of the chemicals produced, the cost of raw materials and the processing costs incurred. The model is restricted by the raw material availability, the utility and chemical requirements of each process step, the capacity of each process step and the market requirements for each chemical produced. This report will give a detailed description of the model structure, will discuss the validity of the data used in the model as well as future requirements, will discuss the running of the model on the computer and will discuss analysis of the LP solution.
A literature review was conducted to identify potentially effective nano-based technology for improving wood attributes in order to develop competitive specialty wood products. The review covered both conventional chemical treatment methods and nano-based methods. Traditional chemical treatments have shown to be effective in improving wood hardness, dimensional stability, stiffness, fire resistance, UV resistance, biological resistance and aesthetic appeal. However, nanotechnology offers new opportunities for further improving wood product attributes due to some very unique and desirable properties of chemical materials in the form of particles in nano scale. The advantages of nanotechnology appear to be particularly obvious when applied to create polymer nanocomposites such as wood coatings. Polymer nanocomposites consist of a continuous polymer matrix which contains inorganic particles of a size below approximately 100 nm at least in one dimension. Due to the material nature of solid wood products, creating a continuous polymer matrix with effective inorganic nanoparticles inside wood cells and lumens would be very difficult. The most promising areas of applying nanotechnology to create improvement opportunities would be wood coatings and wood adhesives. It is recommended that research be carried out to explore the potential of nanotechnology in wood coatings and adhesives and their applications in B.C. wood species and wood products.