Colloquium: Mar. 21, 2018 at 4 PM

WFU Physics Colloquium

TITLE: “Converting Agricultural Waste into Value-Added Products:  The Case of the Coconut”
SPEAKER: Professor Walter Bradley, PhD, PE
Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Baylor University
Emeritus Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University

TIME: Wed. Mar. 21, 2018, at 4:00 PM
PLACE: George P. Williams, Jr. Lecture Hall, (Olin 101)

There will be a reception with refreshments at 3:30 PM in the lounge. All interested persons are cordially invited to attend.


There is a growing interest in the use of renewable functional fillers in polymer composites and natural fibers in non-woven fabric composites to make more environmentally friendly products by reducing the use of petroleum.  This can be done using crops such as kenaf that are grown for this purpose. However, the use of agricultural waste has two advantages: the feedstock is essentially free and the volume of agricultural waste to be burned or buried is reduced.  This presentation will explore the possibilities of using coconut shell and coconut husks as feed stocks to make functional fillers for polymeric composite materials and non-woven fabric composites respectively.  The properties of the coconut shell and fiber from the coconut husk (called coir) will be presented.  Commercial applications that can take advantage of these families of physical properties will be used to illustrate a wider range of possibilities. The necessary materials science research that was performed to make possible their incorporation into commercial products will also be summarized.

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