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Publication

Impact of biomass ash content on biocomposite properties...

Publication Type
Journal
Journal Name
Composites Part C: Open Access
Publication Date
Page Number
100319
Volume
9
Issue
xx

Owing to its low cost and sustainable nature, lignocellulosic biomass has been utilized for reinforcing polymers, but it is crucial to understand the impact of high-ash concentrations in biomass on composite strength and processing. Biomass is not only desirable for biofuel production but could also have a strong market, if high-ash biomass is acceptable, for biocomposites. In this work, natural fibers (switchgrass and corn stover) were used to reinforce polylactic acid (PLA) to produce biocomposites. Natural fibers were pretreated to obtain fibers that contain different percentages of ash. The mechanical properties (such as Young's modulus, tensile strength, failure strain, storage modulus) of corn stover/PLA composites remained largely unaffected by the ash concentration of the biomass fibers, despite the large range of ash contents (2.2–11.9 wt%). However, the tensile strengths of switchgrass/PLA composites were slightly negatively affected by the ash concentration of the switchgrass fibers (0.7–2.1 wt%). Both the switchgrass/PLA and the corn stover/PLA composites exhibited a high-enough tensile strength (49–57 MPa) and suitable complex viscosity (2.0−7.0 kPa·s at the frequency of 3.2 rad/s). They are expected to be 3D-printable through an extrusion-based additive manufacturing process.