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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(7), 1410; doi:10.3390/ijms18071410

Improving Processing and Performance of Pure Lignin Carbon Fibers through Hardwood and Herbaceous Lignin Blends

Center for Renewable Carbon, University of Tennessee, 2506 Jacob Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
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Received: 18 April 2017 / Revised: 22 June 2017 / Accepted: 27 June 2017 / Published: 1 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Lignin Challenge: Exploring Innovative Applications)
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Abstract

Lignin/lignin blends were used to improve fiber spinning, stabilization rates, and properties of lignin-based carbon fibers. Organosolv lignin from Alamo switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) were used as blends for making lignin-based carbon fibers. Different ratios of yellow poplar:switchgrass lignin blends were prepared (50:50, 75:25, and 85:15 w/w). Chemical composition and thermal properties of lignin samples were determined. Thermal properties of lignins were analyzed using thermogravimetric analysis and differential scanning calorimetry. Thermal analysis confirmed switchgrass and yellow poplar lignin form miscible blends, as a single glass transition was observed. Lignin fibers were produced via melt-spinning by twin-screw extrusion. Lignin fibers were thermostabilized at different rates and subsequently carbonized. Spinnability of switchgrass lignin markedly improved by blending with yellow poplar lignin. On the other hand, switchgrass lignin significantly improved thermostabilization performance of yellow poplar fibers, preventing fusion of fibers during fast stabilization and improving mechanical properties of fibers. These results suggest a route towards a 100% renewable carbon fiber with significant decrease in production time and improved mechanical performance. View Full-Text
Keywords: lignin; carbon fiber; hardwood; herbaceous; nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy; thermal properties; thermostabilization; tensile properties lignin; carbon fiber; hardwood; herbaceous; nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy; thermal properties; thermostabilization; tensile properties
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Hosseinaei, O.; Harper, D.P.; Bozell, J.J.; Rials, T.G. Improving Processing and Performance of Pure Lignin Carbon Fibers through Hardwood and Herbaceous Lignin Blends. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 1410.

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