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Engineering of Sustainable Plastic Blends and their Biocomposites using Biocarbon

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Title: Engineering of Sustainable Plastic Blends and their Biocomposites using Biocarbon
Author: Snowdon, Michael Ryan
Department: School of Engineering
Program: Engineering
Advisor: Misra, ManjusriMohanty, Amar
Abstract: The use of biomass as a feedstock to produce biofuels, biochemicals and bioproducts is becoming more common as growth in the biorefinery sector continues. The bioeconomy seeks to optimize all products in a manufacturing process such as the biobased carbon produced during pyrolysis. Currently biocarbon lacks valuable applications, restricting its potential in the bioeconomy. By using this material in the production of biocomposites, the project targeted the biobased carbon for higher-value and more novel applications. Poly(lactic acid) (PLA), is being investigated as a component of polymeric matrices for the biocomposites as it is the most prominent biobased and biodegradable thermoplastic polymer in use today. According to recent literature, biocarbon filler can act as a reinforcement within the polymer matrix enhancing performance. By developing this suitable composite system which has a high degree of biobased content or is readily compostable and performs similarly in relation to current commodity plastics, there are advantages of creating more environmentally friendly materials. To evaluate this hypothesis, multiple trials with variation in the blend and filler morphology and interfacial interactions were examined. Several other tests looked at the effect of hybrid fillers or compatibilization with multiple polymer constituents to determine the differences according to mechanical, thermal and morphological properties. Additional studies with engineering plastics including poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET), and poly(trimethylene terephthalate) (PTT), and ways in which to enhance toughening and increase sustainable content through recycled addition and biobased material was examined. Characterization of the biocomposites was conducted with the aid of optical microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy for interfacial analysis, while tensile, flexural and impact strength was measured following ASTM standards. Thermal characteristics of the biocomposites was tested using other equipment such as differential scanning calorimetry, dynamic mechanical analysis and thermogravimetric analysis machines. The focus of the project was to ascertain suitable biocomposite options and formulations that have a balanced performance viable for industrial use in various applications. This in turn can assist biofuel companies in using the biobased carbon more readily and increase the knowledge discovery.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/17669
Date: 2019-12
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International