Sustainable Carbonaceous Biofiller from Miscanthus: Size Reduction, Characterization, and Potential Bio-composites Applications

Tao Wang, Arturo Rodriguez-Uribe, Manjusri Misra, Amar K. Mohanty


The use of biocarbon derived from renewable resources to substitute for petroleum-based carbonaceous materials in composites and other applications often requires size reduction. Biocarbon obtained by the pyrolysis of miscanthus was subjected to ball milling from 2 to 24 h. Particle analysis was performed by combining scanning electron microscope imaging and image-based particle counting. The milled biocarbon had a highly heterogeneous shape and size distribution, making image-based analysis the most suitable method. The average particle size was reduced from above 3 µm after 2 h of milling to below 1 µm after 24 h of milling. The specific surface area doubled from 148 m²/g to approximately 300 m²/g after 2 h of milling, but it did not change with longer milling. Ball milling caused a gradual decrease of the thermal conductivity from 0.137 to 0.116 W·m-1·K-1. The ash content increased from 8 to 17% after 24 h of milling. Polypropylene composites filled with the biocarbon with and without ball milling showed lower density and comparable mechanical properties to a talc-filled composite except for lower impact strength. Using ball milled biocarbon led to a steady increase of the impact strength with longer milling time, reaching values on a par with that of the talc composite.


Carbon; Biocarbon; Nano-particles; Milling; Sizing; Composite; Additives

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