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Location: Functional Foods Research

Title: Ionic liquid-facilitated preparation of lignocellulosic composites

item Tisserat, Brent
item Larson, Eric - Bradley University
item Gray, David - Bradley University
item Dexter, Nathaniel - Bradley University
item Moore, Lena - Bradley University
item Haverhals, Luke - Bradley University

Submitted to: International Journal of Polymer Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/16/2015
Publication Date: 4/16/2015
Citation: Tisserat, B., Larson, E., Gray, D., Dexter, N., Meunier, C., Moore, L., Haverhals, L. 2015. Ionic liquid-facilitated preparation of lignocellulosic composites. International Journal of Polymer Science. doi: 10.1155/2015/181097.

Interpretive Summary: There is an ever growing need to produce consumer/industrial goods and fuels without petroleum. About 8% of total petroleum products (crude oil and natural gas) are utilized in the manufacture of plastics. In order to reduce costs and improve performance, plastics are blended with lignocellulosic materials to obtain biocomposites. However, recent technologies employing ionic liquids suggest that cellulose can be liquefied to substitute for petroleum-based plastics in the fabrication of novel biocomposites. This study demonstrates methodologies to produce lignocellulosic composites (LCs) employing cotton/wood as the matrix material and pre-fabricated burlap/cotton weaves as the reinforcement agents. These LCs were found to have mechanical properties on par with thermoplastics. These results suggest that novel LCs may be employed as substitutes for petroleum-based plastics in future products.

Technical Abstract: Lignocellulosic composites (LCs) were prepared by partially dissolving cotton along with steam exploded Aspen wood and burlap fabric reinforcements utilizing an ionic liquid (IL) solvent. Two methods of preparation were employed. In the first method, a controlled amount of IL was added to preassembled dry matrix of cotton and Aspen wood with a burlap weave reinforcement. In the second method, IL solvent, cotton and Aspen wood were mixed to produce a thick paste matrix that was subsequently pressed into the burlap weave reinforcement. The IL-based solvent was removed via water soaking, and the flexural and tensile properties of the LCs were examined. In this study, the matrix paste method produced a superior LC. Variables such as processing time (IL interaction time) and fabric weaves were found to influence the mechanical properties of the LCs. Although significant process optimization can still be realized, the mechanical properties of several of the LCs fabricated in this study were comparable to injection molded test specimens of neat high density polyethylene or neat polypropylene.