(329a) Sustainable Green Composites from Bio-Nylon and Biochar

Mohanty, A. K. - Presenter, University of Guelph
Ogunsona, E. - Presenter, University of Guelph
Misra, M. - Presenter, University of Guelph

Green composites derived from crop derived bioplastics and plant derived natural fibres/bio-fillers are the wave of the future. This work deals in the design and engineering of innovative biobased and greener composite materials from the emerging bio-nylons and biomass pyrolyzed co-product, the biochar.

 “Use of residues and undervalued co-products from thermo-chemical biomass conversion industries (pyrolysis industries) as the raw materials for new value-added biocomposite material development” is an approach here in enhancing the sustainability of the growing thermo-chemical bioconversion process. Biochar production is a well-known carbon negative or carbon subtractive approach with greener energy solution, which receives more attention due to their environmental impact and other potential uses including soil amendment, metallurgical as well as energy generation. Bio-carbon expects to revolutionize the plastics and related manufacturing sectors with a green alternative through uses of novel biocomposites materials.

Again, renewable resourced-based bionylons (polyamides, PA) have attracted recent attention because these polyamides are based in part with the derivatives of castor oils. Major industry players like BASF, DuPont, Arkema, Evonik and DSM have come-up in bringing a number of bio-nylons (fully or partially derived from renewable resources) like PA 4,10; PA 6,10; PA 10,10; and PA 11 etc. to the commercial/semi-commercial status. Certain specific grades of bionylons have been of great interest to automotive industry due to their better moisture resistance in addition to their superior thermal properties.

The use of biochar as a potential reinforcement in bionylon polymer based biocomposites is investigated in this study. Composites from fractionated miscanthus biochar powder were injection moulded at a constant biochar loading of 20 wt.%. Test samples were characterized for their mechanical (tensile, flexural and impact), heat deflection temperature (HDT) and thermal properties evaluations. Morphological analysis was performed by means of scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Both tensile and flexural moduli exhibited increase resulting from the stiffening effect of the biochar. Flexural strength showed an almost two-fold increase with the addition of biochar in the studied experimental conditions. The surface morphology of the impact fractured surface of the composite revealed good wetting of the biochar with the nylon indicating some level of interfacial compatibility. Compatibility between these materials can be attributed to polar-polar interactions and possibly hydrogen bonding at the molecular level. This presentation will highlight the potential opportunities of such biobased composite materials for certain automotive parts uses.

Acknowledgements: The authors are thankful to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)/University of Guelph Research Program under Product Development and Enhancement through Value Chains Research Theme Project # 200399; the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI), Ontario Research Fund - Research Excellence Round 4 Program Project # 050231 & 050289;  the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Canada for the Discovery Grants Project # 400322; and the NSERC NCE AUTO21 Project # 460372 for their financial supports.