Journal of Polymers and the Environment

, Volume 27, Issue 8, pp 1735–1745 | Cite as

Tuning Sugarcane Bagasse Biochar into a Potential Carbon Black Substitute for Polyethylene Composites

  • Gabriela F. Ferreira
  • Mauricio Pierozzi
  • Ana Claudia Fingolo
  • Widner P. da Silva
  • Mathias StraussEmail author
Original paper


One of the most used carbonaceous materials by industry are carbon blacks, which have technological applications in polymeric composites, coatings and paints, electric and electrochemical devices. One drawback is that they are produced from fossil fuels. Although biochars are also carbonaceous materials some disadvantages like their larger particles size, high ash content and highly oxygenated surface must be overcome to enable their use as substitute of carbon blacks in composites. Sugarcane bagasse biochar was used to produce carbonaceous materials to substitute carbon blacks. Milling of biochar decreased particle size from several hundreds of micrometers to 100–500 nm and narrowed its size distribution. Chemical leaching reduced the inorganic compounds and ash content by almost 20%. Great advance was achieved when biochar was thermally annealed in alcohol vapor atmosphere which resulted in biochar-based material with very low oxygenated carbon species at particles surface and turned them hydrophobic. Almost no C–O/C=O and O–C=O peaks components were observed at the X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy spectrum. Reactive thermal annealing of the biochar based additive was a key procedure to obtain polyethylene composites (5% loading) with mechanical, thermal and colorimetric properties very close to the ones prepared with the carbon black from fossil fuels.


Polyolefin Composite Pyrolysis Filler Nanomaterial 



Prof. Liliane Maria Ferrareso Lona and Msc. Caroline Nogueira Kuchnier from the Chemistry Engineering Faculty of the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) are acknowledged for the use of injection molding system (Thermo Scientific HAAKE MiniJet II). Msc. Manoella da Silva Cavalcante and Prof. Edson Noriyuki Ito are thanked for the cryo-ultra-micro cuts of polymeric composites. Bioware Ltda company is acknowledged for biochar preparation service. Authors also acknowledge Brazilian Nanotechnology National Laboratory (LNNano) for the use of the SEM (proposal SEM-19904), AFM (proposal AFM-21346), XPS and µ-CT facilities. The National System of Laboratories for Nanotechnology (SisNANO/MCTI) is acknowledged for its financial support in infrastructure and equipment at the LNNano.

Supplementary material

10924_2019_1468_MOESM1_ESM.docx (32 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 32728 kb) Particle size distribution of the milled sugarcane bagasse pellets (SB) used as feedstock for the pyrolysis procedure and for the sugarcane bagasse biochar (SBB). Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) image of the particles of sugarcane bagasse biochar sample (SBB). Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) images of the particles of sugarcane bagasse biochar samples ball milled for 6, 24, 48 and 72 h. Sugarcane bagasse biochar composition and surface chemistry analyses using XPS. Particle size counting statistics for the SBB-6h, SBB-24h, SBB-48h and SBB-72h materials. Carbon high resolution XPS spectra of the SBB-72h and rSBB-72h-ABL samples compared to SBB-72h annealed only under N2 (at 900 °C without isopropanol vapor). Vulcan XC72 carbon black information and characterization.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brazilian Nanotechnology National Laboratory (LNNano)Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM)CampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Centre of Natural and Human SciencesFederal University of ABCSanto AndréBrazil

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