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International Journal of Chemical Engineering
Volume 2015, Article ID 658163, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/658163
Research Article

Influence of Strong Acid Hydrolysis Processing on the Thermal Stability and Crystallinity of Cellulose Isolated from Wheat Straw

1Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL 36088, USA
2Department of Chemistry, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL 36088, USA

Received 24 November 2014; Revised 17 March 2015; Accepted 21 March 2015

Academic Editor: Jerzy Bałdyga

Copyright © 2015 Chemar J. Huntley et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Cellulose extractions from wheat straw via hydrochloric, nitric, and sulfuric acid hydrolysis methods were carried out. X-ray diffraction spectral analyses reveal that depending on the acid conditions used the structure of the cellulose exhibited a mixture of polymorphs (i.e., CI and CIII cellulose phases). In addition, the percent crystallinity, diameter, and length of the cellulose fibers varied tremendously as determined by X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy. Thermal gravimetric analysis measurements revealed that the thermal stability of the extracted cellulose varied as a function of the acid strength and conditions used. Scanning electron microscopy analysis revealed that the aggregation of cellulose fibers during the drying process is strongly dependent upon the drying process and strength of the acids used.