Discipline: Chemistry and Chemical Sciences
Subcategory: Materials Science
Chibu Umerah - Fayetteville State University
Co-Author(s): Boniface J. Tiimob and Vijaya K. Rangari, Tuskegee University, AL
Plastic harms the environment by polluting the water, land, and air which can cause health problems for individuals located near such conditions. Polymers made from petroleum harm the environment due to its lack of biodegradability. It takes centuries for such polymers to biodegrade and be absorbed by the earth and causes climate change when burned due to the release of carbon dioxide. The purpose of this research is to create a biodegradable polymer from a PLA/PBAT 25/75 blend with coconut shell base carbon obtained through high pressure reactions and microwave techniques. The coconut shell sourced carbon material was characterized with Raman spectroscopy and BET surface area measurement and TEM analysis, while the pristine polymers and blend composites the carbon were created by solvent blending, followed by 3D printing, and characterized with Raman spectroscopy, XRD and tensile test. The Raman results of the carbon material revealed information which suggested the formation of graphite oxide during the process. It is anticipated that the addition of small amount of the coconut shell based carbon will alter the microstructure, thermal, electrical and tensile properties of the 25/75 PLA/PBAT blend to widen the scope of potential applications for such films without compromising biodegradability.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Gratitude is highly expressed to the NSF grant DMR-1358998 and HRD-1409918 for providing the funds for this research. I am thankful for Dr. Zainuddin for directing the internship program.
Faculty Advisor: Vijaya Rangari, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I've done the synthesis of the thin films as well as the characterization of the films.