keywords: Pore analysis, acetylation, physicochemical properties, lignocellulosic
The recent resurgence of interest in the use of fibers from agro – waste as reinforcement and oil sorption materials in the polymer and oil spill cleanup industries respectively, has directed focus on chemical modification of lignocellulosic fibers. This research studied the effect of acetylation on the physicochemical properties of lignocellulosic samples. Oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFB), pride of Barbados Pods (POBP) and cocoa pod (CP) samples were acetylated at 70oC for 90 min, in the presence of n–bromo succinimide (NBS) catalyst using a solvent free method. The modified (acetylated) and unmodified (unacetylated) samples were further characterized using scanning electron microscope (SEM) and X–ray diffractometer (XRD) analysis. The results showed that acetylation did not affect the ash content significantly but reduced the moisture content and bulk densities (compacted and uncompacted) of the lignocellulosic samples while the XRD analysis showed that acetylation reduced the crystallinity index of the samples. Pore analysis using SEM showed that the lignocellulosic samples are made up of pores of various sizes and majority of the pores are of small size range with few medium and large pore sizes. Results showed that acetylation affected the various sizes of the pores (pore matrix) differently and this consequently affected the porosity of the lignocellulosic samples. Thus, acetylation improved the composite and oil sorption properties of lignocellulosic materials.