Thermo-Mechanical Behaviour of the Raffinate Resulting from the Aqueous Extraction of Sunflower whole Plant in Twin-Screw Extruder: Manufacturing of Biodegradable Agromaterials by Thermo-Pressing
Biorefinery of sunflower whole plant can be realized using a twin-screw extruder. Thermo-mechanical fractionation and aqueous extraction are conducted simultaneously. A filter section is outfitted along the barrel to collect continuously an extract and a raffinate (cake meal). Oil yield obtained is 53%. Proteins are partly extracted at the same time, just as pectins and hemicelluloses. Protein yield is 46%. Cake meal is relatively moist (66% for the moisture content). It is first dried to make easier its conservation. It is largely composed of lignocellulosic fibres (59% of the dry matter) from depithed stalk. Lipid content is 13% of the dry matter or 35% of the oil in whole plant. Protein content is 7% of the dry matter or 45% of the proteins in whole plant. DSC measurements indicate that denaturation of proteins is almost complete in the cake meal. DMTA spectrum of its milled powder reveals a significant peak at high temperature (between 175 and 200°C). As already observed with industrial sunflower cake meal, it can be associated with the glass transition of proteins. As a mixture of fibres and proteins, the cake meal can be considered as a natural composite. It is successfully processed into biodegradable and value-added agromaterials by thermo-pressing. As for DMTA analysis, the glass transition of proteins in the cake meal is also observed with PVT analysis at around 180°C. It makes easier the choice of the best thermo-pressing conditions to produce panels with higher mechanical properties in bending. These properties increase simultaneously with temperature, pressure and time chosen for molding operation. The highest flexural strength at break (11.5 MPa) and the highest elastic modulus (2.22 GPa) are obtained for the next molding conditions: 200°C and 320 kgf/cm2 during 60 s. Drop angle measurements show that the corresponding panel is also the most resistant to water. No significant transition is observed inside this panel above 0°C and until 200°C with DMTA analysis. Proteins ensure the agromaterial cohesion without any phase change in this temperature range, and fibres entanglement also acts like reinforcement. This panel could be used as inter-layer sheets for pallets or for the manufacturing of biodegradable containers (composters, crates for vegetable gardening) by assembly of panels.
P. Evon et al., "Thermo-Mechanical Behaviour of the Raffinate Resulting from the Aqueous Extraction of Sunflower whole Plant in Twin-Screw Extruder: Manufacturing of Biodegradable Agromaterials by Thermo-Pressing", Advanced Materials Research, Vol. 112, pp. 63-72, 2010