- Written by Anna Strom
One of Bio4Energy’s greatest assets is its students. This month, no less than five of them are either defending their PhD thesis or giving their licentiate lecture or mid-term PhD seminar. In this case, five seminars make for five lines of excellent research on:
- Development of carbon foams for use as electrodes or sorbents in water purification;
- Heterogeneous catalysis applied to a pulping by-product for the purpose of making bio-based polymers or biofuel compounds;
- Spectroscopic characterisation of lignocellulosic biomass;
- Lengthening of tree fibres by using nanofibres and nanocrystals, and;
- Characterisation of biomass mixed with waste and compound emissions.
Flexible carbon foams – Article published in the Scientific Reports’ series of the Nature Publishing Group
The study led by Bio4Energy researchers shows that the flexibility of carbon foams made from bio-based materials may be further increased by applying direct carbonisation to melamine foams. Melamine is a crystalline, slightly water-soluble solid, used chiefly in organic synthesis and in the manufacture of resins, especially melamine resins.
Thus, the researchers write in an article recently published in Scientific Reports, due to their light weight, high porosity, hydrophobicity and high adsorption capacity, such foams could find several applications as electrodes or sorbent materials in water purification;
"In this paper, we show that after the [high-temperature treatment by means of] pyrolysis and activation process, the carbon foam retains the open pore network of the precursor foam and remains mechanically flexible, and, furthermore, with a proper selection of suitable synthesis conditions, foams possessing a different hydrophobic/hydrophilic nature may be obtained".