Impacts of Inorganic Material (Total Ash) on Surface Energy, Wettability, and Cohesion of Corn Stover

Bryon Donohoe, Michael Resch, Juan Leal, Estrella Torres, William Rouse, Cameron Moore, Andrew Sutton, Amber Hoover, Chenlin Li, Allison Ray, Troy Semlsberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus Citations


The impacts and variability of inorganic material (measured as total ash) on surface area, surface energy, wettability, and cohesion of corn stover samples from Iowa were examined. The impact of total ash on the acid component of surface energy was determined to be significant with the acid component increasing with increasing ash content, in particular, the samples with total ash contents greater than 10%. Negligible effects with ash content were observed on both the dispersive and base components of surface energy. The work of cohesion for the compositions of corn stover with varying amounts of total inorganic matter increased with increasing total ash content, giving rise to potential bulk solids handling and transport challenges related to segregation, agglomeration, rat-holing, arching, and discontinuous flow patterns. Both the wettability (hydrophilicity) and work of cohesion increased for compositions of corn stover with increasing total inorganic content. Washing proved effective at removing extrinsic inorganic material from corn stover with a reduction in total ash content from 20.4% to 6.2%, accompanied by a significant reduction (from 85.6 to 42.5 mJ/m2) in the acid component of the surface energy.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2061-2072
Number of pages12
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - 3 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-75793


  • Ash
  • Corn stover
  • Surface area
  • Surface energy
  • Wettability


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