Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Subcategory: Materials Science
Marylyn Creer - Alabama A&M University
Co-Author(s): Boniface Tiimob, Shaik Jeelani, and Vijaya Rangari, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL Esperidiana Moura, University of Sao Pauloa, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Polymer products are used for thousands of consumer needs and for many materials utilized by the aeronautics, healthcare and medical industries. In general, polymers are without great strength but can be fortified by various filler materials. Nonbiodegradable landfill waste contributes to pollution and deadly greenhouse gases. Such emissions can cause global warming, torrential flooding and glacier melts. Biodegradable material disposal causes little or no threat to the environment and humanity. Bagasse is the sugarcane stalk that remains after sugarcane juices have been harvested and is a great candidate for use as biodegradable filler. Bagasse nanoparticles (NPs ) were used as reinforcement filler material for the Epoxy 100/1000 system. This system contains Part A epoxy resin and Part B hardener. Quantities of 1, 2, 3, and 4 wt. % bagasse NPs were experimentally used to create specimen composites within the fabricated epoxy 100/1000 matrix system. Samples were then subjected to thermomechanical and flexure testing in order to evaluate their thermal stability, strength and quality. Test results were also evaluated in order to determine the optimum amount of bagasse nanoparticles necessary to provide the greatest strength without compromising other beneficial qualities. Such tests and analyses are necessary in determining the possibility of developing a material with a bagasse content that can provide higher product quality and benefits. Fabricated neat composite specimens were subjected to flexure test to determine changes in mechanical properties resulting from the incorporation of crystalline bagasse silica nanoparticles in the biopolymer matrix. The results revealed improvement in flexure strength due to the incorporation of 2 and 3 wt. % bagasse silica NPs, as well as improvement in other thermomechanical properties. The study outcomes show that bagasse nanoparticles have the potential to improve weak thermal and mechanical properties of polymers. More studies will continue to be conducted, including exploring other dispersion methods of bagasse nanoparticles into the polymer matrix.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NSF Grant No. DMR-1358998; NSF-CREST
Faculty Advisor: Vijaya Rangari, firstname.lastname@example.org