Discipline: Nanoscience or Materials Science
Subcategory: Materials Science
Emmanuel Kwaku Aidoo - Southern University and A&M College
Co-Author(s): Patrick Mensah, Southern University and A and M college; Maryam Jahan, Southern University and A&M College,
Agricultural waste products (AWP) have emerged as a promising option for use as natural fillers in the development of new composites due to their high strength, as well as corrosion resistance, low density, and other desirable properties. Also owing to their durability, non-toxicity, resistance to biodegradation and easy combustibility, these AWP are valuable to the automotive and aerospace industries. However, AWP have not been fully utilized in the development of novel materials, especially for thermal insulation, due to issues of incompatibility of the filler material and the polymer matrix and thermal stability challenges. Hence, the aim of this project is to make multifunctional composites out of three types of agricultural waste: coconut shells, walnut shells, and coffee beans. These AWP will be treated with potassium hydroxide (KOH) to increase their surface area and porosity, and both the treated and untreated natural fillers will be held together in a polymer matrix. The 10% weight of activated and non-activated coconut shell particles were produced with mesh sizes ranging from 50 to 200. Activated and non-activated coconut shell particles (CSP) were characterized using an optical microscope (OM) with a scale of 0.1 cm and a magnification of 1X. According to the OM images, the activated coconut shell particles had a greater surface area than the non-activated coconut shell particles, and this was due to activation using KOH. The thermal stability of the composites was analyzed using a thermogravimetric analyzer STA 7300. Each sample was heated from 30°C to 500°C at a heating rate of 5°C/min while argon gas was flowing constantly at a rate of 200 ml/min for the analysis. The results showed that the lowest and highest mass decompositions of the 50 mesh AC/Epoxy composite and the 200 mesh CSP/Epoxy composite were found to be 76.3% and 87.3%, respectively. AccuPyc II 1340 pycnometer was used to measure the density of the samples during five purges in a helium environment. The density values for the six samples ranged from 1.0347 to 1.1189g/cm3, according to the analysis’s findings, with the 200mesh AC/Epoxy and 50mesh CSP/Epoxy composites recording the lowest and highest densities, respectively. The walnut shells and coffee beans would undergo activation as part of the next steps, and both the activated and non-activated AWP would be reinforced in a polymer matrix. Our composites will be examined using a variety of advanced techniques, such as Scanning Electron Microscopy for microstructural examination of the samples, X-ray Diffraction Analysis for crystal structural analysis of the activated carbon, and X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy for elemental composition. The composition of the natural fillers in the composite materials will be varied between 10% and 25%, and the resulting composites will be characterized by the measurement of thermal conductivity utilizing the ASTM C177-97; examination of water absorption capacity; and density measurement using a pycnometer. The thermal stability of the composite material is examined using TGA. The focus is examining the density and thermal conductivity of our composites manufactured from the three AWP which depend on the size of the shell particles in accordance with ASTM D6913-17. The thermal conductivity of our samples ought to demonstrate that the activated agricultural waste epoxy composite has a lot of potential as a thermal insulation material.We are aiming to utilize agricultural waste products (coconut shells, walnut shells, and coffee beans) as a huge pool of untapped resources that can be turned into valuable assets with many potential industrial applications. In this project we are looking for innovative approaches to convert the growing amount of human-produced agricultural waste into eco-efficient, bio-based products.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): National Science Foundation (NSF)
Faculty Advisor: Maryam Jahan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: Experiment and Data analysis