Synthesis and Characterization of Biobased Carbon Nanoparticles from Lignin

Gonugunta, Prasad
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University of Guelph

Lignin is an undervalued product that does not yet provide economic returns. Finding value-added applications of lignin is needed to achieve economic sustainability. Carbon nanoparticles have great technological and industrial importance because of their enhanced physicochemical, electrical, thermal and mechanical properties. In this work a novel method has been explored to produce carbon nanoparticles from lignin. The objective of this work is to synthesize carbon nanoparticles with high surface area from lignin through the carbonization process. Lignin was dissolved in alkaline solutions with different weight ratios of lignin and potassium hydroxide. An intermediate sublimation process was adopted to reduce agglomeration of particles. The lignin was thermo-stabilized after the sublimation process in oxidizing atmosphere followed by the carbonization process in an inert atmosphere at 700oC using tubular furnace. The increase in glass transition tem-perature during thermo-stabilization process was confirmed by DSC analysis. The con-densation reactions during thermo-stabilization process were confirmed by FTIR analysis. The formation of carbon nanoparticles was confirmed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis. Carbon nanoparticles with high specific surface area of 42 m2/g were produced. From the DLS particle size distribution it was found that 5 wt% KOH is the optimum concentration for synthesizing carbon nanoparticles from lignin.

Lignin, Carbon Nanoparticles, Biobased, Carbonization