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Author ORCID ID is 0000000210940325
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  1. Tin and tin oxide-based electrodes are promising high-capacity anodes for lithium-ion batteries. However, poor capacity retention is the major issue with these materials due to the large volumetric expansion that occurs when lithium is alloyed with tin during lithiation and delithiation process. Here, a method to prepare a low-cost, scalable carbon and tin(II) oxide composite anode is reported. The composite material was prepared by ball milling of carbon recovered from used tire powders with 25 wt% tin(II) oxide to form lithium-ion battery anode. With the impact of energy from the ball milling, tin oxide powders were uniformly distributed inside themore » pores of waste-tire-derived carbon. During lithiation and delithiation, the carbon matrix can effectively absorb the volume expansion caused by tin, thereby minimizing pulverization and capacity fade of the electrodes. In conclusion, the as-synthesized anode yielded a capacity of 690 mAh g –1 after 300 cycles at a current density of 40 mA g –1 with a stable battery performance.« less
  2. Biorefineries produce impure sugar waste streams that are being underutilized. By converting this waste to a profitable by-product, biorefineries could be safeguarded against low oil prices. We demonstrate controlled production of useful carbon materials from the waste concentrate via hydrothermal synthesis and carbonization. We devise a pathway to producing tunable, porous spherical carbon materials by modeling the gross structure formation and developing an understanding of the pore formation mechanism utilizing simple reaction principles. Compared to a simple hydrothermal synthesis from sugar concentrate, emulsion-based synthesis results in hollow spheres with abundant microporosity. In contrast, conventional hydrothermal synthesis produces solid beads withmore » micro and mesoporosity. All the carbonaceous materials show promise in energy storage application. Using our reaction pathway, perfect hollow activated carbon spheres can be produced from waste sugar in liquid effluence of biomass steam pretreatment units. As a result, the renewable carbon product demonstrated a desirable surface area of 872 m 2/g and capacitance of up to 109 F/g when made into an electric double layer supercapacitor. The capacitor exhibited nearly ideal capacitive behavior with 90.5% capacitance retention after 5000 cycles.« less
  3. The rapidly growing automobile industry increases the accumulation of end-of-life tires each year throughout the world. Waste tires lead to increased environmental issues and lasting resource problems. Recycling hazardous wastes to produce value-added products is becoming essential for the sustainable progress of society. A patented sulfonation process followed by pyrolysis at 1100 °C in a nitrogen atmosphere was used to produce carbon material from these tires and utilized as an anode in lithium-ion batteries. The combustion of the volatiles released in waste tire pyrolysis produces lower fossil CO 2 emissions per unit of energy (136.51 gCO 2/kW·h) compared to othermore » conventional fossil fuels such as coal or fuel–oil, usually used in power generation. The strategy used in this research may be applied to other rechargeable batteries, supercapacitors, catalysts, and other electrochemical devices. The Raman vibrational spectra observed on these carbons show a graphitic carbon with significant disorder structure. Further, structural studies reveal a unique disordered carbon nanostructure with a higher interlayer distance of 4.5 Å compared to 3.43 Å in the commercial graphite. The carbon material derived from tires was used as an anode in lithium-ion batteries exhibited a reversible capacity of 360 mAh/g at C/3. However, the reversible capacity increased to 432 mAh/g at C/10 when this carbon particle was coated with a thin layer of carbon. In conclusion, a novel strategy of prelithiation applied for improving the first cycle efficiency to 94% is also presented.« less
  4. Here, the article presents different mechanical, thermal and rheological data corresponding to the morphological formation within various renewable lignin-based composites containing acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), acrylonitrile butadiene rubber (NBR41, 41 mol% nitrile content), and carbon fibers (CFs). The data of 3D-printing properties and morphology of 3D-printed layers of selected lignin-based composites are revealed.
  5. Here, we report the utilization of a melt-stable lignin waste-stream from biorefineries as a renewable feedstock, with acrylonitrile-butadiene rubber and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) polymer to synthesize a renewable matrix having excellent 3D-printability. While the initial low melt viscosity of the dispersed lignin phase induces local thermo-rheological relaxation facilitating the composite's melt flow, thermal crosslinking in both lignin and rubber phases as well as at the lignin-rubber interface decreases the molecular mobility. Consequently, interfacial diffusion and the resulting adhesion between deposited layers is decreased. However, addition of 10 wt.% of discontinuous carbon fibers (CFs) within the green composites not only significantly enhancesmore » the material performance but also lowers the degree of chemical crosslinking formed in the matrix during melt-phase synthesis. Furthermore, abundant functional groups including hydroxyl (from lignin) and nitrile (from rubber and ABS) allow combinations of hydrogen bonded structures where CFs play a critical bridging role between the deposited layers. As a result, a highly interfused printed structure with 100% improved inter-layer adhesion strength was obtained. This research offers a route toward utilizing lignin for replacement of petroleum-based thermoplastics used in additive manufacturing and methods to enhance printability of the materials with exceptional mechanical performance.« less
  6. We report an approach for programming electrical conductivity of a bio-based leathery skin devised with a layer of 60 nm metallic nanoparticles. Lignin-based renewable shape-memory materials were made, for the first time, to program and restore the materials’ electrical conductivity after repeated deformation up to 100% strain amplitude, at a temperature 60–115 °C above the glass transition temperature (T g) of the rubbery matrix. We cross-linked lignin macromolecules with an acrylonitrile–butadiene rubbery melt in high quantities ranging from 40 to 60 wt % and processed the resulting thermoplastics into thin films. Chemical and physical networks within the polymeric materials significantlymore » enhanced key characteristics such as mechanical stiffness, strain fixity, and temperature-stimulated recovery of shape. The branched structures of the guaiacylpropane-dominant softwood lignin significantly improve the rubber’s T g and produced a film with stored and recoverable elastic work density that was an order of magnitude greater than those of the neat rubber and of samples made with syringylpropane-rich hardwood lignin. The devices could exhibit switching of conductivity before and after shape recovery.« less
  7. For the first time, uniform distribution of surface functionalized carbon nanofibers (CNFs) has been achieved in low molecular weight (≈120,000 g/mol) textile grade-polyacrylonitrile (PAN)-based composite filaments. Furthermore, surface grafting of CNFs with acrylonitrile enhances the dispersion of nanofibers in PAN fiber matrix. XPS study reveals high atomic nitrogen content (7%) on the CNF surface due to the grafting reaction. The solution-spun filaments have been characterized for distribution of CNFs in the PAN matrix by electron microscopy. PAN composite filaments containing 3.2 wt.% CNF and processed at draw ratio of ≈6.3 exhibit enhanced tensile strength and modulus by more than threemore » folds compared to the control PAN filament. Because of chemically compatible surface modification of the nanofibers, better dispersion and improved mechanical properties were accomplished in the reinforced PAN fibers. This should then allow the production of CNF reinforced carbon fibers with improved tensile properties. An increase in CNF loading (6.4 wt.%), however, reduced performance due to inefficient alignment of CNF along the fiber axis. Nevertheless, hot stretching (at draw ratio ≈ 10) of the filaments enhanced tensile strength and elastic modulus of PAN composite filaments by 20–30% compared to the control hot stretched PAN filaments.« less
  8. Reforming whole lignocellulosic biomass into value-added materials has yet to be achieved mainly due to the infusible nature of biomass and its recalcitrance to dissolve in common organic solvents. Recently, the solubility of biomass in ionic liquids (ILs) has been explored to develop all-lignocellulosic materials; however, efficient dissolution and therefore production of value-added materials with desired mechanical properties remain a challenge. This article presents an approach to producing high-performance lignocellulosic films from hybrid poplar wood. An autohydrolysis step that removes ≤50% of the hemicellulose fraction is performed to enhance biomass solvation in 1-ethyl-3-methyl imidazolium acetate ([C2mim][OAc]). The resulting biomass–IL solutionmore » is then cast into free-standing films using different coagulating solvents, yet preserving the polymeric nature of the biomass constituents. Methanol coagulated films exhibit a cocontinuous 3D-network structure with dispersed domains of less than 100 nm. The consolidated films with controllable morphology and structural order demonstrate tensile properties better than those of quasi-isotropic wood. Here, the methods for producing these biomass derivatives have potential for fabricating novel green materials with superior performance from woody and grassy biomass.« less

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