Publications by authors named "Chad A Ulven"

2 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

A Preliminary Environmental Assessment of Epoxidized Sucrose Soyate (ESS)-Based Biocomposite.

Molecules 2020 Jun 17;25(12). Epub 2020 Jun 17.

Department of Coatings and Polymeric Materials, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58108, USA.

Biocomposites can be both environmentally and economically beneficial: during their life cycle they generally use and generate less petroleum-based carbon, and when produced from the byproduct of another industry or recycled back to the manufacturing process, they will bring additional economic benefits through contributing to a circular economy. Here we investigate and compare the environmental performance of a biocomposite composed of a soybean oil-based resin (epoxidized sucrose soyate) and flax-based reinforcement using life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. We evaluate the main environmental impacts that are generated during the production of the bio-based resin used in the biocomposite, as well as the biocomposite itself. We compare the life cycle impacts of the proposed biocomposite to a functionally similar petroleum-based resin and flax fiber reinforced composite, to identify tradeoffs between the environmental performance of the two products. We demonstrate that the bio-based resin (epoxidized sucrose soyate) compared to a conventional (bisphenol A-based) resin shows lower negative environmental impacts in most studied categories. When comparing the biocomposite to the fossil fuel derived composite, it is demonstrated that using epoxidized sucrose soyate versus a bisphenol A (BPA)-based epoxy resin can improve the environmental performance of the composite in most categories except eutrophication and ozone layer depletion. For future designs, considering an alternative cross-linker to facilitate the bond between the bio-based resin and the flax fiber, may help improve the overall environmental performance of the biocomposite. An uncertainty analysis was also performed to evaluate the effect of variation in LCA model inputs on the environmental results for both the biocomposite and composite. The findings show a better overall carbon footprint for the biocomposite compared to the BPA-based composite at almost all times, demonstrating a good potential for marketability especially in the presence of incentives or regulations that address reducing the carbon intensity of products. This analysis allowed us to pinpoint hotspots in the biocomposite's supply chain and recommend future modifications to improve the product's sustainability.
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June 2020

Pretreatment of Wheat Bran for Suitable Reinforcement in Biocomposites.

J Renew Mater 2017 Jan;5(Suppl 1):62-73

Division of Science and Mathematics, Mayville State University, Mayville, ND 58257, USA.

Wheat bran, abundant but underutilized, was investigated for its potential as a reinforcement in biocomposites through different pretreatment methods. Pretreatment methods included were dilute sodium hydroxide (NaOH), dilute sulfuric acid (HSO), liquid hot water (LHW), calcium hydroxide (CaOH), organosolv such as aqueous ethanol (EtOH), and methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK). Changes in chemical composition and fiber characteristics of the treated bran were studied using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). Cellulose content increased to 35.1% and 29.6% in brans treated with HSO and NaOH, respectively. The SEM micrographs showed surface cleaning of treated bran while maintaining sufficient surface roughness for the HSO, NaOH, and MIBK treated brans. Crystallinity index increased slightly for all treatments except HSO. NaOH and HSO pretreated brans achieved important fiber characteristics, which could be useful for making thermoplastic biocomposites. Innovative use of bran in thermoplastic will create more opportunities for growers while enhancing biodegradability.
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January 2017