Characterization of Licorice Root Waste for Prospective Use as Filler in more Eco-Friendly Composite Materials
The extraction of glycyrrhizin from licorice root and stolon with ethanol/water solutions leaves a lignocellulosic residue, which could be potentially applied in biocomposites. This process proved difficult in principle, given the considerable hardness of this material as received, which impedes its use in polymer resins in large amounts. After ball milling, up to 10% of this fibrous residue, which shows very variable aspect ratio, was introduced into an epoxy matrix, to investigate its
... stigate its possible future application in sustainable polymers. Of the three composites investigated, containing 1, 5 and 10 wt% of licorice waste, respectively, by performing flexural testing, it was found that the introduction of an intermediate amount of filler proved the most suitable for possible development. Thermal characterization by thermogravimetry (TGA) did not indicate large variation of degradation properties due to the introduction of the filler. Despite the preliminary characteristics of this study, an acceptable resin-filler interface has been obtained for all filler contents. Issues to be solved in future study would be the possibility to include a larger amount of filler by better compatibilization and a more uniform distribution of the filler, considering their orientation, since most of it maintains an elongated geometry after ball milling.