Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Borazjani, Hamid

Committee Member

Zhang, Dongmao

Committee Member

Srinivasan, Radhakrishnan

Committee Member

Shmulsky, Rubin

Committee Member

Schultz, Tor

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Forest Products

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Forest Resources


Department of Forestry


The main objective of this research was to examine uses for distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), a coproduct of ethanol production plant, in the fiber-reinforced plastic composites industry. Initially the effort intended to take advantage of the DDGS components, using chemical reactions, to produce coupling agents to improve the physical properties of the composite. Four different chemicals plus water were used to convert proteins into soluble amino acids. The results were not as expected, and appeared to show an early pyrolysis of DDGS components. This may be due to regeneration of proteins when pH of solutions is neutralized. Procedures were then investigated to utilize DDGS for different markets. Considering that oils and proteins of DDGS can thermally decompose, it seemed important to separate the major components and work with DDGS fiber alone. A procedure to extract oil from DDGS using ethanol and then to hydrolyze proteins with ethanol diluted with water, acid and sodium sulfite, was developed. The resulting DDGS fiber or residual material, with a low content of oil and proteins, was used as filler in a propylene matrix with a lubricant and coupling agent to make natural fiber plastic composites (NFPC). Composites containing wood flour (WPC) were prepared simultaneously with those of DDGS fiber to compare tensile properties and fracture surfaces of the specimens by scanning electron microscope (SEM). This study demonstrates that DDGS fiber can replace wood fiber as a filler in NFPC.