3:00pm - 3:20pm
Effect of Field Retting in Manitoba on Pectin Content of Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) and Flax (Linum Usitatissimum) Fibres Using ATR FTIR Spectroscopy
1University of Manitoba, Canada; 2Composites Innovation Centre Manitoba Inc.
Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) and Flax (Linum Usitatissimum) have historically been cultivated for fibre to be used for various applications such as textiles and other materials. In recent years, interest has risen in using hemp and flax as alternatives to glass fibres in biocomposites. In order to easily extract fibres from hemp or flax stalks they must first go through a process known as “retting” in which the fibres are separated from the hurd. Retting, through the use of various microbes, degrades the matrix of hemicellulose, lignin and pectin that binds the cellulose fibres together. Field or dew retting is a low cost and eco-friendly method commonly used in Europe. The goal of the present study is to determine the effects of dew retting in Manitoba climate on the pectin content of extracted hemp and flax fibres. This presented research utilizes Attenuated Total Reflection (ATR) Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy to identify and compare cellulose, pectin and wax markers among the hemp and flax fibres that have been: field retted, water retted and unretted. As pectin degradation is a by-product of the retting process, monitoring the change in pectin content through the use of ATR FTIR spectroscopy is used to assess the degree of retting for flax and hemp fibres with emphasis on field retted fibres in Manitoba.
3:20pm - 3:40pm
Fourier Transform Mid-Infrared Spectromiscroscopy Analysis for Canola (Brassica napus L.) and Flax (Linum Usitatissimum) stems
University of Manitoba, Canada
The primary objective of this research is to compare the cellulosic fibres present in canola and linseed flax stems to determine the suitability for the production of natural fibres. This is an opportunity to add value to these crops as the stems are frequently unharvested. The analysis is performed in the mid-infrared (mid-IR) region (4000cm-1 – 600cm-1) using fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectromicroscope. FTIR spectromicroscopy is a chemical imaging technique that aids in the determination of chemical compositional distribution throughout the anatomy of the stem. The presented research is the first to utilize FTIR spectromicroscopy to identify markers and the spatial location of chemical constituents in cross-sections of canola stems. This methodology has been successfully applied in previous research involving flax to identify the primary chemical constituents in the stems (i.e., cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, pectin and wax). The dried stems are analyzed in three modes: cross-sections are imaged using FTIR in both transmission and transflection mode, and surface chemistry of the stems are analyzed using attenuated total reflectance. Samples for cross-sectioning are embedded in media, then frozen, microtomed to approximately 5-10µm thickness and mounted on a barium fluoride (BaF2) windows for transmission, or reflective slides for transflectance FTIR. The maps of chemical compositional distribution obtained from canola and flax stems in different modes provide correlation with location of fibre bundles determined.
3:40pm - 4:00pm
Fibre extraction efficiency, quality and characterization of cattail fibres for textile applications
University of Manitoba, Canada
Typha Latifolia, belongs to the family Typhaceae, and is an aquatic plant commonly known as ‘cattail’. Cattail plants have been used to generate biomass, which is an alternative source of energy and as raw materials for the paper industry. The use of cattail plants as a textile fibre source has not been explored and the current research is the first of its kind to examine the extraction, quality and properties of cattail fibers.
Textiles represent a 1.3 trillion dollar market currently dominated by cotton and polyester. The use of bast fibers (i.e. flax, hemp) for textile applications is negligible due to low yield (≈10%) during extraction (retting) and lack of spinning properties. It was found that unlike bast fibers, no retting was necessary to extract the fiber from cattail plants as whole cattail plants (stem and leaves) could be transformed into fibers under controlled experimental conditions in aqueous alkaline solution. Since the whole cattail plant was utilized, the fiber yield (%) was found to be between 40 to 60% at 80°C. Furthermore, the cattail fiber exhibited excellent textile properties, such as dye absorbency (reactive dye), combustion behavior similar to cotton, and mechanical strength for potential spinning applications.
Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) micrographs showed a unique submicroscopic ‘crenelated’ (rectangular indentation) structure which may positively contribute to dye absorbency, comfort and insulation behavior.
4:00pm - 4:20pm
Synthesis of High-Surface-Area Biochar Particles Using Microwave Pyrolysis Technique
University of New Brunswick, Canada
Microwave pyrolysis is an emerging technique to produce biochar from biomass materials. Different biomass materials such as maple (hardwood), spruce (softwood) and switchgrass (energy grass) are widely available in New Brunswick (NB), Canada. The government of NB is promoting innovative techniques to convert biomass waste to value added products. This study, thus, aims to produce biochar from locally available biomass waste materials and then to determine the characteristics of the biochar. Microwave pyrolyzer developed in the Bioenergy and Bioproducts Research Lab at University of New Brunswick was deployed to produce biochar. Experiments were conducted under a set of power levels: 400, 500, and 600 Watts, keeping residence for an hour. Preliminary results showed that biochar product yields varied from approximately 20-25%, with higher yields being obtained at lower power levels. The highest surface area of 205 m^2/g at 500 W and porosity of 0.1 cc/g at 400 W were observed in spruce biochar. Further, biochars will be characterized in terms of elemental and proximate analysis to better understand biochar compositions and quality.
4:20pm - 4:40pm
Lignocellulosic biomass compaction – a review
University of Manitoba, Canada
A review of factors affecting lignocellulosic biomass compaction and its utilization was undertaken. Issues regarding the market value of compressed biomass were analysed. It was found that the market value was heavily influenced by legislation and by the introduction of feed in tariffs (FIT), quota systems, and subsidies. An elementary model attempting to evaluate market value for biomass was analysed and some omissions discussed. Energy value reporting was disambiguated, with an explanation of the difference between higher heating value (HHV) and lower heating value (LHV), together with equations showing their mathematical relationship. Significant differences in composition, quality, and energy values of densified biomass products depend on factors including chemical composition, physical characteristics, the use of binders, and storage and handling conditions. Improper storage conditions increase the risk of life and property loss. Ash contributes to premature equipment failure, however, the melting point may be avoided or reduced by eliminating the use of fines during compaction, which, furthermore, saves energy during the compaction process. The initial quantity and quality of ash and sinter are determined by species, soil composition, and growing conditions. Ash quality may, in some circumstances, be improved upon by employing pretreatments such as leaching or acid washing. Some biomass sources, such as sawdust, present fewer challenges than other sources, such as wheat straw.
4:40pm - 5:00pm
Development of High-performance Naonocellulose from Natural Sources
University of Manitoba, Canada
The increasing environment awareness has been a great push for the development of sustainable, eco-friendly, and biodegradable materials from natural sources that can replace non-renewable materials. Abundant natural plants and annual crops grown in Canada are ideal sources for cellulose nanofibers. These are advanced biomaterials with low density, high mechanical strength and ultrahigh surface-to-volume / mass ratios, which contribute to their exceptional performance in absorption/adsorption, filtration and incorporation of bioactive molecules. Their potential applications include wound dressings, drug delivery, scaffolds for tissue engineering, water purification and supercapacitors.
This study is to isolate high-performance nanocellulose from hemp fibers using a simple and environmental friendly approach. Alkali pre-treatment will be used to further remove lignin and hemicellulose from the hemp fibers. Cellulose nanofibers will be mechanically disintegrated through high speed blending. The morphology of the cellulose nanofibers will be examined by Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) and Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). Cellulose nanofiber membranes and cellulose hydrogels composed of crosslinked carboxymethylated cellulose will be prepared and characterized for their applications in a variety of areas. The results of the study are expected to lead to the development of high-performance cellulose nanofibers and their hydrogels for high-value added applications using a simple method that is scalable for industrial manufacturing.