NC State
Rutledge, A. R., Venditti, R. A., Pawlak, J. J., Patel, S., and Cibils, J. L. (2008). "Carbonized starch microcellular foam-cellulose fiber composite structures," BioRes. 3(4), 1063-1080.


The production of microporous carbon foams from renewable starch microcellular foam-fiber (SMCF-Fiber) composites is described. Carbon foams are used in applications such as thermal insulation, battery electrodes, filters, fuel cells, and medical devices. SMCF-Fiber composites were created from an aquagel. The water in the aquagel was exchanged with ethanol and then dried and carbonized. Higher amylose content starches and fiber contents of up to 4% improved the processability of the foam. The SMCF structure revealed agglomerates of swollen starch granules connected by a web of starch with pores in the 50-200 nanometer range. Heating the SMCF-fiber in a nitrogen atmosphere to temperatures between 350-700˚C produced carbon foams with a three-dimensional closed cell foam structure with cell diameters around 50 microns and pore walls around 1-3 microns. The stress versus strain compression data for carbonized samples displayed a linear elastic region and a plateau indicative of brittle crushing, typical of an elastic-brittle foam. The carbon foam products from these renewable precursors are promising carbon structures with moderate strength and low density.
Download PDF