Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New composite advances lignin as a renewable 3D printing material

20.12.2018

Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have created a recipe for a renewable 3D printing feedstock that could spur a profitable new use for an intractable biorefinery byproduct: lignin.

The discovery, detailed in Science Advances, expands ORNL's achievements in lowering the cost of bioproducts by creating novel uses for lignin--the material left over from the processing of biomass.


Using as much as 50 percent lignin by weight, a new composite material created at ORNL is well suited for use in 3D printing.

Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory


ORNL scientists have created a new composite material for additive manufacturing that makes use of lignin, a biofuels byproduct.

Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Lignin gives plants rigidity and also makes biomass resistant to being broken down into useful products.

"Finding new uses for lignin can improve the economics of the entire biorefining process," said ORNL project lead Amit Naskar.

Researchers combined a melt-stable hardwood lignin with conventional plastic, a low-melting nylon, and carbon fiber to create a composite with just the right characteristics for extrusion and weld strength between layers during the printing process, as well as excellent mechanical properties.

The work is tricky. Lignin chars easily; unlike workhorse composites like acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) that are made of petroleum-based thermoplastics, lignin can only be heated to a certain temperature for softening and extrusion from a 3D-printing nozzle. Prolonged exposure to heat dramatically increases its viscosity--it becomes too thick to be extruded easily.

But when researchers combined lignin with nylon, they found a surprising result: the composite's room temperature stiffness increased while its melt viscosity decreased. The lignin-nylon material had tensile strength similar to nylon alone and lower viscosity, in fact, than conventional ABS or high impact polystyrene.

The scientists conducted neutron scattering at the High Flux Isotope Reactor and used advanced microscopy at the Center for Nanophase Materials Science--both DOE Office of Science User Facilities at ORNL--to explore the composite's molecular structure.

They found that the combination of lignin and nylon "appeared to have almost a lubrication or plasticizing effect on the composite," noted Naskar.

"Structural characteristics of lignin are critical to enhance 3D printability of the materials," said ORNL's Ngoc Nguyen who collaborated on the project.

Scientists were also able to mix in a higher percentage of lignin--40 to 50 percent by weight--a new achievement in the quest for a lignin-based printing material. ORNL scientists then added 4 to 16 percent carbon fiber into the mix. The new composite heats up more easily, flows faster for speedier printing, and results in a stronger product.

"ORNL's world-class capabilities in materials characterization and synthesis are essential to the challenge of transforming byproducts like lignin into coproducts, generating potential new revenue streams for industry and creating novel renewable composites for advanced manufacturing," said Moe Khaleel, associate laboratory director for Energy and Environmental Sciences.

###

The lignin-nylon composite is patent-pending and work is ongoing to refine the material and find other ways to process it. The ORNL research team also included Sietske Barnes, Christopher Bowland, Kelly Meek, Kenneth Littrell and Jong Keum. The research was funded by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy's Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE's Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit https://science.energy.gov.

Media Contact

Kim Askey
askeyka@ornl.gov
865-576-2841

 @ORNL

http://www.ornl.gov 

Kim Askey | EurekAlert!

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht A sustainable new material for carbon dioxide capture
09.12.2019 | Chalmers University of Technology

nachricht A robot and software make it easier to create advanced materials
06.12.2019 | Rutgers University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electronic map reveals 'rules of the road' in superconductor

Band structure map exposes iron selenide's enigmatic electronic signature

Using a clever technique that causes unruly crystals of iron selenide to snap into alignment, Rice University physicists have drawn a detailed map that reveals...

Im Focus: Developing a digital twin

University of Texas and MIT researchers create virtual UAVs that can predict vehicle health, enable autonomous decision-making

In the not too distant future, we can expect to see our skies filled with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) delivering packages, maybe even people, from location...

Im Focus: The coldest reaction

With ultracold chemistry, researchers get a first look at exactly what happens during a chemical reaction

The coldest chemical reaction in the known universe took place in what appears to be a chaotic mess of lasers. The appearance deceives: Deep within that...

Im Focus: How do scars form? Fascia function as a repository of mobile scar tissue

Abnormal scarring is a serious threat resulting in non-healing chronic wounds or fibrosis. Scars form when fibroblasts, a type of cell of connective tissue, reach wounded skin and deposit plugs of extracellular matrix. Until today, the question about the exact anatomical origin of these fibroblasts has not been answered. In order to find potential ways of influencing the scarring process, the team of Dr. Yuval Rinkevich, Group Leader for Regenerative Biology at the Institute of Lung Biology and Disease at Helmholtz Zentrum München, aimed to finally find an answer. As it was already known that all scars derive from a fibroblast lineage expressing the Engrailed-1 gene - a lineage not only present in skin, but also in fascia - the researchers intentionally tried to understand whether or not fascia might be the origin of fibroblasts.

Fibroblasts kit - ready to heal wounds

Im Focus: McMaster researcher warns plastic pollution in Great Lakes growing concern to ecosystem

Research from a leading international expert on the health of the Great Lakes suggests that the growing intensity and scale of pollution from plastics poses serious risks to human health and will continue to have profound consequences on the ecosystem.

In an article published this month in the Journal of Waste Resources and Recycling, Gail Krantzberg, a professor in the Booth School of Engineering Practice...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

The Future of Work

03.12.2019 | Event News

First International Conference on Agrophotovoltaics in August 2020

15.11.2019 | Event News

Laser Symposium on Electromobility in Aachen: trends for the mobility revolution

15.11.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

The Arctic atmosphere - a gathering place for dust?

09.12.2019 | Earth Sciences

New ultra-miniaturized scope less invasive, produces higher quality images

09.12.2019 | Information Technology

Discovery of genes involved in the biosynthesis of antidepressant

09.12.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>