Liquefaction and substitution of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) based bio-oil into epoxy resins

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Wei, Nan, Brian K. Via, Yifen Wang, Tim McDonald, and Maria L. Auad. 2014. Industrial Crops and Products 57 (0): 116–23. doi:10.1016/j.indcrop.2014.03.028.

Type Journal Article
Author Nan Wei
Author Brian K. Via
Author Yifen Wang
Author Tim McDonald
Author Maria L. Auad
Volume 57
Issue 0
Pages 116-123
Publication Industrial Crops and Products
ISSN 0926-6690
Date April 14, 2014
Journal Abbr Industrial Crops and Products
DOI 10.1016/j.indcrop.2014.03.028
Abstract Abstract The goal of this study was to determine the optimum liquefaction time and temperature needed to produce a bio oil such that the thermal and mechanical properties of the bio oil based epoxy thermosets would be optimized. Switchgrass was liquefied at temperatures between 200 and 260 °C for 1–3 h to produce bio oil with varying amounts of functional groups such as hydroxyl groups (OH). The bisphenol A/epichlorohydrin derived liquid epoxy resin was then blended with bio-oil at ratios between 1:1 to 1:4 and cured for mechanical and thermal testing. The optimal recipe for liquefaction was 250 °C for 2 h and the optimal ratio for most properties was a 1:1 (epoxy:oil) ratio. The storage modulus of the bio-modified polymer performed best at this ratio for temperatures greater than 70 °C. Likewise, higher degradation temperatures and lower weight loss upon exposure to acetone solvents also demonstrated the highest crosslinking efficiency at a 1:1 ratio. Vibration spectroscopy confirmed a nearly complete consumption of OH functional groups at this ratio based on the disappearance of the peak absorbance at 3336 cm−1. It was concluded that the severity of liquefaction coupled with precise tuning of epoxy:oil ratio was an effective method to control cross linking while ensuring the highest thermal and mechanical properties of the bio-modified polymer. Furthermore, there was excess diethylene glycol in the bio-oil after liquefaction resulting in a plasticizing effect on the epoxy as indicated by the lower glass transition at lower residence times during liquefaction.


  • Bioenergy
  • Bio-oil
  • Epoxy
  • Grass
  • Liquefaction
  • Oils
  • Panicum virgatum
  • Polymers
  • Resins
  • Solvents
  • Switchgrass
  • Temperature

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