NC State
  • Researchpp 88-104Cui, L., Yan, J., Li, L., Quan, G., Ding, C., Chen, T., Yin, C., Gao, J., and Hussain, Q. (2015). "Does biochar alter the speciation of Cd and Pb in aqueous solution?" BioRes. 10(1), 88-104.AbstractArticlePDF

    Cadmium and lead contamination in bodies of water has been a serious concern because of risk to the environment. A laboratory experiment was initiated to investigate the efficacy of biochar (BC) in removing cadmium and lead (Cd and Pb, respectively) from solution. After absorption by BC, the fractions of Cd and Pb at different solution temperatures were measured. The adsorption data were described by Langmuir isotherm with maximum adsorption capacities of 6.36, 6.47, and 6.74 mg Cd g-1 and 50.05, 55.86, and 63.09 mg Pb g-1 at 25, 35, and 45 °C, respectively. The adsorption capacities were affected by Cd/Pb initial concentration, pH, BC particle size, BC dosage, and reaction time. Biochar adsorbed the Cd and Pb mainly as species bound with carbonate (> 50%) and organic compounds (~40%). Exchangeable and residual fractions of Cd and Pb were less than 10%. Results from this study indicate that BC is highly effective in the adsorption of the heavy metals Cd and Pb through binding with carbonates.

  • Researchpp 105-122Shahid, S. A., Ali, M., and Zafar, Z. I. (2015). "Cure kinetics, bonding performance, thermal degradation, and biocidal studies of phenol-formaldehyde resins modified with crude bio-oil prepared from Ziziphus mauritiana endocarps," BioRes. 10(1), 105-122.AbstractArticlePDF

    Crude bio-oil, extracted from endocarp bio-waste of Ziziphus mauritiana by direct liquefaction (ethanol-water 1:1 w/w; 300 °C), was used to replace petro-phenol (30% to 75% w/w) in the development of bio-oil-phenol formaldehyde (BPF) resol resins. Cure kinetics of the BPF resins were studied by the DSC method, while the thermal degradation was studied by the TGA method. Bonding performance of the BPF resins was measured by single lap-shear method, while biocidal properties were investigated by antifungal index (%) and termite mortality (%) test. The DSC studies revealed that beyond 45% bio-oil incorporation (BOI), the curing process of the BPF resins got deferred. The TGA studies showed that BOI decreased the thermal stability of the BPF resins by lowering the decomposition temperatures and the char residue. The measured values of antifungal index (%) and termite mortality (%) revealed that incorporation of bio-oil enhanced the fungal and termite resistance of the resins. From data of thermal cure, bonding strength, thermal stability, and biocidal properties of the BPF resins it appears that petro-phenol could be substituted by up to 45% w/w of crude bio-oil safely in the development of bio-oil-phenol formaldehyde resol resins.

  • Researchpp 123-136Then, Y. Y., Ibrahim, N. A., Zainuddin, N., Ariffin, H., Wan Yunus, W. M. Z., and Chieng, B. W. (2015). "Static mechanical, interfacial, and water absorption behaviors of alkali treated oil palm mesocarp fiber reinforced poly(butylene succinate) biocomposites," BioRes. 10(1), 123-136.AbstractArticlePDF

    In this work, oil palm mesocarp fiber (OPMF) was surface-treated with varying NaOH concentrations (1, 3, 5, 7, or 9%) and soaking times (1, 2, 3, or 4 h) at room temperature aiming to enhance its adhesion to the thermoplastic matrix for biocomposite application. The biocomposites from alkali treated OPMFs and poly(butylene succinate) at weight ratios of 70:30 were fabricated by a melt blending technique and hot-pressed moulding. The results indicate that NaOH treatment removed fiber’s surface waxes, hemicellulose, and lignin, and produced fiber with rough surface morphology. The tensile results showed that OPMF treated in 5% NaOH solution for 3 h produced biocomposite with enhanced tensile strength (30%), tensile modulus (105%), and elongation at break (16%), as well as reduced water absorption (15%) and thickness swelling (13%) in comparison to that of untreated OPMF. Scanning electron microscopy showed improvement of interfacial adhesion between treated fiber and poly(butylene succinate). These results suggest that NaOH treatment could be an effective form of treatment for OPMF in biocomposites materials.

  • Researchpp 137-144Song, X., Bie, R., Ji, X., Chen, P., Zhang, Y., and Fan, J. (2015). "Kinetics of reed black liquor (RBL) pyrolysis from thermogravimetric data," BioRes. 10(1), 137-144.AbstractArticlePDF

    The pyrolysis of reed black liquor (RBL) was studied in nitrogen atmosphere by thermogravimetric analysis at six different heating rates of 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 ˚C·min-1 from ambient temperature (25 ˚C) to 800 ˚C. Thermogravimetric (TG) and differential thermogravimetric (DTG) curves were obtained. The results show that there are three main weight-loss stages in the temperature ranges of 180 to 350, 350 to 560, and 560 to 800 ˚C, for which the error is about ± 10 ˚C. The kinetic parameters were determined by the Coats-Redfern method. A kinetic compensation effect (KCE) between activation energy (E) and pre-exponential (A) factor also was found.

  • Researchpp 145-154Hu, Z., Liu, B., Lin, J., Hu, G., Wang, L., and Zhang, X. (2015). "Interfacial modification and dispersion of short carbon fiber and the properties of composite papers as gas diffusion layer for proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC)," BioRes. 10(1), 145-154.AbstractArticlePDF

    Short carbon fibers (SCF) were modified with oxidation and coupling treatment to improve their water-wettability and bonding properties. Four types of dispersants were studied and discussed. Short carbon fibers/plant fiber (PF) composite papers were prepared by papermaking techniques. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and tests to determine zeta potential, absorbance, tensile index, and conductivity were carried out to investigate the modified effect of SCF and the interfacial properties. Modification experimental results showed that the surface grooves were deepened and new superficial grooves were generated by the liquid acid oxidation. The reaction with the silane coupling agent provided higher density and more uniform distribution on the SCF surface than that of organic titanate, and it obviously increased the roughness and the absolute value of zeta potential. After modification, the hydrophilic properties and dispersion in aqueous solutions were improved, the SCFs could form a good mechanical grip with plant fibers, and the conductivity and physical strength of SCF/PF composite papers were enhanced. It was shown that there was obvious adhesive binding at the fiber overlap nodes by the SEM analysis. It was confirmed that the improvement of physical properties of composite paper can be ascribed to the interfacial enhancement.

  • Researchpp 155-168Liu, M., Chen, Y., Chen, K., Zhang, N., Zhao, X., Zhao, F., Dou, Z., He, X., and Wang, L. (2015). "Biomass-derived activated carbon for rechargeable lithium-sulfur batteries," BioRes. 10(1), 155-168.AbstractArticlePDF

    High-surface-area activated carbon (HSAAC) was synthesized by carbonizing coconut shells and subsequently activating the material with KOH. The as-prepared HSAAC had a mostly microporous structure (with small mesoporous inclusions) and exhibited a high specific surface area of 2258.7 m2g-1 and an average pore size of 2.246 nm. Sulfur was then loaded into the activated carbon (AC), and this S/HSAAC (62 wt%) was used as a cathode for Li-S batteries. These batteries delivered an initial discharge capacity of 1233 mAhg-1 at a current density of 200 mAg-1. Due to the strong absorption force of the micropores and a high pore volume, the cells retained 929 mAhg-1 with 80% capacity retention of the initial discharge after 100 cycles. Considering its low cost and ability to be produced at a large-scale, biomass-derived HSAAC is a promising electrode material that may advance high-energy rechargeable lithium-sulfur batteries toward use in practical applications.

  • Researchpp 169-181Nazerian, M., Dalirzadeh, A., and Farrokhpayam, S. R. (2015). "Use of almond shell powder in modification of the physical and mechanical properties of medium density fiberboard," BioRes. 10(1), 169-181.AbstractArticlePDF

    This study evaluated the effects of almond shell powder content as an extender, as well as the effects of varying paraffin contents, temperature, and press time on the properties of medium-density fiberboard. Response surface methodology (RSM) based on a five-level, four-variable central composite rotatable design was applied to evaluate the effects of independent variables on the modulus of rupture (MOR), internal bonding (IB), and thickness swelling (TS) of medium-density fiberboard. Mathematical model equations were derived from computer simulation programming to optimize the properties of the panels. These equations, which are second-order response functions representing MOR, IB, and TS, were expressed as functions of four operating parameters of panel properties. Predicted values were found to be in agreement with experimental values (R2 values of 0.93, 0.90, and 0.90 for MOR, IB, and TS, respectively). The study showed that RSM can be efficiently applied in modeling fiberboard properties. It was found that almond shell powder maintained the MOR, IB, and TS at desirable levels up to 10.6% as an extender in the resin. Using 1.7% paraffin as a sizing agent, a press temperature of 158 °C, and a duration of 6.43 min had the highest impact on the improvement of the studied properties of medium-density fiberboard.

  • Researchpp 196-209Chen, W. L., Liang, J. B., Jahromi, M. F., Abdullah, N., Ho, Y. W., and Tufarelli, V. (2015). "Enzyme treatment enhances release of prebiotic oligosaccharides from palm kernel expeller," BioRes. 10(1), 196-209.AbstractArticlePDF

    Heat and enzyme treatments were used to increase the prebiotic oligosaccharides from palm kernel expeller (PKE), and the prebiotic efficacy of three types of PKE-extracts, namely raw PKE-extract (PKERAW), enzyme-treated PKE-extract (PKEENZ), and steam + enzyme-treated PKE-extract (SPKEENZ) was evaluated in vitro using three strains of Lactobacillus (L. brevis I 218, L. salivarius I 24 and L. gallinarum I 16), and in vivo using Sprague-Dawley rats as an animal model. Results of the in vitro study showed that the PKE-extracts were able to support the growth of Lactobacillus sp. strains. However, their growth varied significantly among strains and PKE-extracts (P<0.05), with L. brevis I 218 recording the highest growth compared to the other two strains, and the highest growth in the steam plus enzyme (SPKEENZ) extract. Results of the in vivo study reaffirmed that all the PKE-extracts tested can support growth of beneficial bacteria (Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium), but only SPKEENZ treatment group had significantly higher Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium counts and lower population of E. coli compared to the control. It was demonstrated that PKE is a potential source of prebiotic, which may be used to effectively improve host health and wellbeing by modulating the host gut microflora, and by proper pre-treatment, the release of prebiotic oligosaccharides from PKE can be enhanced.

  • Researchpp 182-195Yu, D., Zeng, J. S., Chen, K. F., Feng, Y. C., and Yang, X. (2015). "Rheological measurement of concentrated pulp fiber suspensions in oscillatory shear using a novel device," BioRes. 10(1), 182-195.AbstractArticlePDF

    This paper presents a novel device based on an oscillating torsion resonator with continuously varying frequency capability to characterize the rheological properties of pulp fiber suspensions in a concentrated regime. Fiber suspensions made from unbleached wheat straw pulp at concentrations ranging from 5 wt% to 15 wt% were used. Pulp suspensions exhibit shear-thinning behavior up to a limited frequency value, after which Newtonian behavior prevails. Effects of frequency, fiber concentration, and beating process on suspension viscoelastic properties are discussed. The suspensions at different concentrations are structured in a similar way, leading to a weak gel-like structure. The storage modulus (G‘) of the suspension can be determined by a two-region (shear increasing – shear decreasing) profile, while loss modulus (G”) keeps increasing for the whole frequency range investigated. At the same frequency, G‘ and G” increase nonlinearly with fiber concentration. The beating process brings a decrease in both G‘ and G”. The power-law model is used for data fitting.

  • Researchpp 210-226Antes, R., and Joutsimo, O. P. (2015). "Effect of modified cooking on chemical composition of pulps from Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus nitens," BioRes. 10(1), 210-226.AbstractArticlePDF

    The effects of SuperBatch™ (SB), CompactCooking™ (CC), and Lo-Solids™ (LS) modified cooking processes on pulp properties of Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus nitens were investigated. The syringyl/guayacil (S/G) lignin ratio in the wood of E. globulus was significantly higher (4.7) than that of E. nitens (3.5). From the brown stock pulps, the viscosity, total lignin, carbohydrate composition, acetone extractives, and hexenuronic acids were measured. For the same Kappa number level (17 ± 0.5), pulps from E. globulus needed lower H-factor. They also presented a higher brightness and more cooking rejects, independent of the cooking method. CC presented a slightly higher cooking yield and pulp viscosity compared to the other modified cooking methods. At the same Kappa number level, the pulps of E. nitens presented a greater amount of total lignin, whereas E. globulus presented a higher amount of hexenuronic acid content, independent of the cooking method.