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Metal Core Nanoparticles Created From Wood Char, a Bioenergy Byproduct

Photo of Wood char particles and carbon-encapsulated iron nanoparticles. Forest ServiceWood char particles and carbon-encapsulated iron nanoparticles. Forest ServiceSnapshot : Shell-encapsulated metal core carbon nanoparticles have potential applications in magnetic data storage, xerography, drug delivery, and as a catalyst in other chemical reactions

Principal Investigators(s) :
Cai, Zhiyong 
Research Location : FPL
Research Station : Forest Products Laboratory (FPL)
Year : 2012
Highlight ID : 4


In the later 20th century, several synthetic carbon allotropes were discovered. These materials are new molecular configurations of carbon with unique physical properties that differ from naturally occurring forms of carbon at the smallest level, the nanoscale. More recently, another new type of nanostructured carbon material, carbon shell-encapsulated metal core nanoparticles (CSEMCNs), have been reported. Typical CSEMCNs have a core-shell structure wherein metal core elements are surrounded by multilayer carbon shells.

Wood char is a byproduct from wood chips using fast pyrolysis, a thermochemical conversion method used to produce energy from biomass. Using wood char for fabricating CSEMCNs will provide added value for this bioenergy byproduct.

In this study, Forest Service scientists synthesized CSEMCNs by heating wood char, either control or preimpregnated with metal ions, at 900 to 1,100 �C. As a result, CSEMCNs were formed with metal cores surrounded by multiple carbon shell layers.

Transmission electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction analysis indicate that the carbon shells has structures similar to that of graphite, with an average interplanar distance of 0.34 nanometers. The energy dispersive x-ray spectrum shows that carbon is the dominant element in the lattice fringe. The preimpregnation of metal ions in wood char improves the CSEMCNs yield.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Jilei Zhang, Yicheng Du, Chuji Wang, Hossein Toghiani, Mississippi State University

Program Areas