Carbonaceous materials are commonly applied as an effective reinforcement in polymer composites. However, current materials such as carbon fibre and carbon nanotubes can be prohibitively expensive for widespread application, and are often derived from non-renewable resources. Pyrolyzed biomass (biochar) could provide an alternative carbon-rich reinforcement material that is derived from renewable resources. In addition to its high carbon content, biochar is a low-cost material that can be produced from a variety of agricultural feedstocks. In this study, biochar from pyrolyzed perennial grass was studied as a potential reinforcing material. The tailoring of biochar surfaces was investigated using oxidative acid treatments to potentially improve adhesion to certain polymer materials. The treated biochars were characterized using various methods to determine their chemical, thermal, morphological and crystalline characteristics. The study revealed that biochar is a promising candidate for composite materials, as the oxidative treatments were effective in improving the surface functionality of the material. FT-IR, EDS and elemental analysis revealed significant changes in chemical structure following oxidative acid treatment. Such modified biochar can be investigated further for their suitability in polymer composites uses.
Acknowledgements: The authors are thankful to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) – University of Guelph "Product Development and Enhancement through Value Chains Research Theme" (Project # 200399); OMAFRA- University of Guelph "Bioeconomy for Industrial Uses Research Theme" (Project # 030055) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Canada Discovery Grants (Project # 400322) for their financial support.
See more of this Group/Topical: Forest and Plant Bioproducts Division - See also ICE