LNNano - Brazilian Nanotechnology National Laboratory

New uses for sugarcane bagasse! Its biochar is converted into a substitute for carbon blacks in polymeric composites

Tuning Sugarcane Bagasse Biochar into a Potential Carbon Black Substitute for Polyethylene Composites

Gabriela F. Ferreira, Mauricio Pierozzi, Ana Claudia Fingolo, Widner P. da Silva and Mathias Strauss

Brazilian Nanotechnology National Laboratory (LNNano), Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM), Zip Code 13083-970, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil

Institute of Chemistry, University of Campinas (Unicamp), 13083-970 Campinas, Brazil.


One of the most used carbonaceous materials by industry are carbon blacks, which have technological applications in polymeric composites, coatings and paints, electric and electrochemical devices. One drawback is that they are produced from fossil fuels. Although biochars are also carbonaceous materials some disadvantages like their larger particles size, high ash content and highly oxygenated surface must be overcome to enable their use as substitute of carbon blacks in composites.

Sugarcane bagasse biochar was used to produce carbonaceous materials to substitute carbon blacks. Milling of biochar decreased particle size from several hundreds of micrometers to 100-500 nm and narrowed its size distribution. Chemical leaching reduced the inorganic compounds and ash content by almost 20%. Great advance was achieved when biochar was thermally annealed in alcohol vapor atmosphere which resulted in biochar-based material with very low oxygenated carbon species at particles surface and turned them hydrophobic. Almost no C-O/C=O and O-C=O peaks components were observed at the X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy spectrum. Reactive thermal annealing of the biochar based additive was a key procedure to obtain polyethylene composites (5% loading) with mechanical, thermal and colorimetric properties very close to the ones prepared with the carbon black from fossil fuels.

Journal of Polymers and the Environment
: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10924-019-01468-1

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