(198ac) Electrospun Nanofibers from a Blend of Asphaltenes with Cellulose Acetate | AIChE

(198ac) Electrospun Nanofibers from a Blend of Asphaltenes with Cellulose Acetate


Svinterikos, E. - Presenter, United Arab Emirates University
Al Marzouqi, M., United Arab Emirates University
Zuburtikudis, I., Abu Dhabi University
In this work, we report the successful fabrication of nanofibrous mats prepared from a blend of asphaltenes with cellulose acetate. Asphaltenes are the components of crude oil with the highest molecular weight. They are an inexpensive feedstock, consisting of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon rings with attached aliphatic chains. Their presence in the crude oil is associated with processing difficulties caused by their precipitation during transportation and refining. However, they are suitable as carbon fiber precursors due to their high carbon content (>80%). On the other hand, cellulose acetate is derived from the processing of cellulose, the most abundant natural polymer on earth. It is therefore a low-cost material derived from a biorenewable resource.

The concept behind this study is to combine these inexpensive resources for the manufacture of high added-value products. In this context, we prepared nanostructured fibrous mats from a blend of asphaltenes with cellulose acetate via the electrospinning technique. With the aid of a design-of-experiments statistical methodology, the process was optimized and the average fiber diameter was minimized. The minimization of the average fiber diameter, had a large impact on applications where the high surface area is important, such as in adsorption, in catalysis and in filtration. Moreover, we report the characterization results of the electrospun nanofibers based on their thermal, morphological and structural properties. Hence, optimal conditions can be obtained for predetermined diameters and desired morphologies of the nanofibers.