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Renewable Resource Based Biocomposites from Coproduct of Dry Milling Corn Ethanol Industry and Castor Oil Based Biopolyurethanes

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The dry milling ethanol industries produce bioethanol along with two major coproducts, distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and carbon dioxide (CO2) roughly in a 1:1:1 quantum ratio. The voluminous production rate of DDGS is exceeding its consumption rate as animal feed. Value-added biocomposites were developed from DDGS and castor oil based biopolyurethane. The structure, thermal, and mechanical properties and morphology of the biocomposites were investigated. The FTIR results revealed the alcohol-urethane type bonding between the polyurethane and DDGS. The weight percentage of polyurethane linked to DDGS on the basis of the total polyurethane weight in the composite (reaction ratio) varied from 92.7 to 98.7% depending on the composition. The DMA results showed that the corn oil acted as an external plasticizer in the composite because the plasticizer was not a part of the polymer chains. The castor oil was an internal plasticizer because it was an internal part of the DDGS-polyurethane (PU) polymer chains. The toughening of the DDGS-PU composites versus DDGS alone was evidenced through DMA, SEM and stress-strain curve analysis. DDGS-PU composites containing 25% polyurethane was more flexible than the brittle DDGS material. The water resistance of the DDGS-based material was improved by the incorporation of the hydrophobic polyurethane. The properties of DDGS were improved by polyurethane and the biocomposites showed potential for real-world applications.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2007

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  • The goal of the creation of a biobased economy is challenging to agriculture, forestry, academia, government and industry. The extractable resources of the Earth are finite, regardless of the quibble over when they will be depleted. The economic, political and social demands for biobased chemicals, materials and energy are expected to radically transform the materials industries, particularly the plastics industry as well as the biofuel industry. These changes will be based on the principles of sustainability, eco-efficiency, industrial ecology, and green chemistry and engineering. In keeping with the growth of knowledge in this field, there is a strong need for a forum to share original research related to biobased materials and bioenergy. The Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy (JBMB) has been created as an international peer-reviewed periodical to fulfill the need for communication in these research areas. This journal will encompass related research activities in all fields of science, engineering and the life sciences.
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