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Title: Extraction and characterisation of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) from sugarcane bagasse using ionic liquids
Authors: Mdletshe, Gcinile Pretty 
Issue Date: 2019
Lignocellulosic materials have the potential to partly replace fossil-based resources as a source of bio-fuels, bio-chemicals, bio-composites and other bio-products. In this study, ionic liquids (ILs) were used in the pre-treatment of ground sugarcane bagasse (SCB). The ILs used were 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium hydrogen sulphate or 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium methyl sulphate at varied times. The ILs were able to remove lignin and hemicellulose from biomass. The IL [bmim][HSO4] had the highest amount of lignin removed after 12 h than all samples. Moreover, it resulted in the greatest cellulose amount.

Milled SCB was pre-treated with IL/dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO) mixtures. The IL [bmim][HSO4] was able to produce cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) at 90 % IL and 100 % IL. The other IL failed to produce CNCs.

Freeze drying the CNC suspension showed morphologies of long fibrous structures and rods which were evident in the scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images. The crystallinity index of cellulose in the form of CNCs was calculated from powder X-ray diffraction (P-XRD). Thermal analysis of the CNCs was obtained from thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). Attenuated total reflection-Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) was used to confirm the absence of lignin and hemicellulose in CNCs. The size distribution of CNCs was obtained by using a dynamic light scattering (DLS) which showed that all the CNCs for the 100 % IL [bmim][HSO4] pre-treatment had a length < 500 nm. It was found that [bmim][HSO4], with no DMSO, was the most effective in terms of cellulose dissolution and the crystal sizes of CNCs. The conversion of cellulose to CNCs was successful with a 80 % and 100 % conversion for 90 % [bmim][HSO4]/DMSO and 100 % [bmim][HSO4], respectively.
Submitted in fulfillment of the academic requirements for the Master in Applied Sciences (Chemistry), Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2019.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Applied Sciences)

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