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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Plant Polymer Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #266138

Title: Optimizing particle size reduction of biochar using a planetary ball mill

item Peterson, Steven - Steve

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/30/2011
Publication Date: 9/1/2011
Citation: Peterson, S.C. 2011. Optimizing particle size reduction of biochar using a planetary ball mill. Meeting Abstract. xx.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: With world demand for fossil fuels consistently growing, reducing our dependence on petroleum products is a necessary strategy. Our research group is currently studying the feasibility of biochar as rubber composite filler. If biochar can be used as a partial or complete substitute for carbon black in tires and other rubber composite applications, fossil fuel usage would be reduced in favor of renewable biochar. The single most important factor for effective rubber composite filler is particle size; smaller particle size increases the surface area of the filler and promotes interactions with the rubber matrix. In this study a planetary ball mill using yttria-stabilized zirconia milling media was used to grind down a corn stover-based biochar in order to reduce its particle size and increase surface area. Both dry- and wet-milling were attempted along with an alternate method of “assisted” dry-milling that utilized sodium chloride in its granular form as an additional grinding media. This method had the added advantage that the sodium chloride could itself be reduced in size as milling progressed, and is easily separated from the biochar after milling. The effect of various wet-milling solvents, milling media size, and sodium chloride assisted milling on biochar particle size were evaluated via conventional and SEM microscopy as well as surface area measurements. Optimizing these parameters improved the surface area of the biochar by a factor of over 70.