Porous graphitic biocarbon and reclaimed carbon fiber derived environmentally benign lightweight composites
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Bamboo-derived biocarbon (BA900) and wood-derived biocarbon (THOC700) have exhibited graphite-like characteristics through transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), and Attenuated Total Reflectance (ATR) spectroscopy analysis. Lightweight composites of biocarbons were manufactured by a mechanism of shear controlled melt-phase mixing, ensuring the preservation of biocarbon pore structures and simultaneously taking full advantage of low density polyolefin substrates. Effective tensile strength was improved by approximately 10% in the polypropylene-based bamboo carbon composite, whereas no appreciable improvement was observed in the tensile and impact strength of bamboo-derived biocarbon formulations compared to neat polymer. However, the tensile and flexural moduli and flexural strength of the THOC700-PP composites were significantly enhanced, by 56%, 67%, and 19%, respectively, compared to neat polymer. The most significant finding of the investigation was the retention of density in polyolefin polymer (ρPP = 0.91; ρTHOC = 0.95; ρBA900 = 0.99), with enhanced mechanical performance useful for lightweighting applications. Bamboo biocarbon provides a viable alternative to another abundantly available industrial carbon feedstock, reclaimed carbon fiber (RCF), in manufacturing thermoplastic composites. The origin of the carbon plays an important role in defining ultimate composite performance. A mechanism for retaining lightweight structural performance has been proposed in this original work, paving the way to develop next-generation lightweight thermoplastic structures for transportation and other industrial and consumer products.
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