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Title: Robust, remeltable and remarkably simple to prepare biomass–sulfur composites
Lignocellulosic biomass holds a tremendous opportunity for transformation into carbon-negative materials, yet the expense of separating biomass into its cellulose and lignin components remains a primary economic barrier to biomass utilization. Herein is reported a simple procedure to convert several biomass-derived materials into robust, recyclable composites through their reaction with elemental sulfur by inverse vulcanization, a process in which olefins are crosslinked by sulfur chains. In an effort to understand the chemistry and the parameters leading to the strength of these composites, sulfur was reacted with four biomass-derivative comonomers: (1) unmodified peanut shell powder, (2) allyl peanut shells, (3) ‘mock’ allyl peanut shells (a mixture containing independently-prepared allyl cellulose and allyl lignin), or (4) peanut shells that have been defatted by extraction of peanut oil. The reactions of these materials with sulfur produce the biomass–sulfur composites PSx , APSx , mAPSx and dfPSx , respectively, where x = wt% sulfur in the monomer feed. The influence of biomass : sulfur ratio was assessed for PSx and APSx . Thermal/mechanical properties of composites were evaluated for comparison to commercial materials. Remarkably, unmodified peanut shell flour can simply be heated with elemental sulfur to produce composites having flexural/compressive strengths exceeding those of Portland cement, more » an effect traced to the presence of olefin-bearing peanut oil in the peanut shells. When allylated peanut shells are used in this process, a composite having twice the compressive strength of Portland cement is attained. « less
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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Materials Advances
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
2271 to 2278
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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