Extrusion of Softwood Kraft Lignins as Precursors for Carbon Fibres

Lennart Salmén, Elisabeth Bergnor, Anne-Mari Olsson, Mårten Åkerström, Anders Uhlin

Abstract


There is much interest in using less expensive raw materials as precursors for carbon fibre manufacture to increase the utilisation of strong, light-weight composite materials in the transportation sector. One such potential raw material is lignin. Most studies exploring melt spinning of lignin have used lignins from organosolv or hardwood kraft delignification processes. There has been little success reported in utilisation of the more commercially available softwood kraft lignins. In this study, lignins from different softwood kraft cooking processes were investigated with respect to their melt spinning performance and conversion to carbon fibres. The isolated lignins differed mainly in molecular weight, glass transition temperature, and softening temperature. All of the lignins produced from the laboratory cooks could be extruded without any plasticizer addition. However, the lignins contained volatiles that resulted in bubbles being formed along the length of the fibres. After vacuum drying, at elevated temperatures to remove volatiles, only the lignin originating from conventional kraft cooking was able to be melt extruded without plasticiser addition; this lignin had the lowest molecular weight amongst the samples. The stabilisation and carbonisation of these fibres gave carbon fibres with strengths comparable to those produced from lignins of other origins.

Keywords


Carbon fiber; Kraft lignins; Kraft pulping; Softwood; Strength properties

Full Text: PDF

Welcome to BioResources! This online, peer-reviewed journal is devoted to the science and engineering of biomaterials and chemicals from lignocellulosic sources for new end uses and new capabilities. The editors of BioResources would be very happy to assist you during the process of submitting or reviewing articles. Please note that logging in is required in order to submit or review articles. Martin A. Hubbe, (919) 513-3022, hubbe@ncsu.edu; Lucian A. Lucia, (919) 515-7707, lucian.lucia@gmail.com URLs: bioresourcesjournal.com; http://ncsu.edu/bioresources ISSN: 1930-2126