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Sustainable Replacements for Coal Tar Pitch Binders

Coal Tar Pitch is widely used as a carbonisable/graphitisable binder to form carbon electrodes, seals and molten metal-conveying components for the ferrous metal industries. However, coal tar pitch is fossil-derived and toxic, so a sustainable alternative is essential for Foundation Industries dependent on carbonised/graphetised materials. 

Wood Tar Biopitch has been identified as a potential alternative solution. However, barriers include insufficient binding to particles and challenges in implementing existing manufacturing processes. 

This project will further explore the potential usage of wood tar biopitch and identify the remaining technical and process challenges for industrial uptake. The research will be conducted in collaboration with Morgan Advanced Materials. Morgan supports a wide cross-section of the foundation Industries with key investments in molten metal systems, electrical carbon and thermal ceramics. The research will be used to create a technical roadmap for replacing coal tar pitch with wood tar biopitch across Foundation Industries, which will then be used to guide future development. 

Dr Cristina Valles

University of Manchester

Dr Cristina Vallés is an academic research fellow at the University of Manchester (Department of Materials). Her group’s research is focused on taking all the exceptional properties of carbon nanomaterials from the nanoscale to macroscopic functional composite materials, including mechanically reinforced, thermally stable and electrically conductive polymer composites that can make an impact in industry, in particular in the aerospace and automotive sectors.


In addition, in collaboration with Morgan Advanced Materials, she is currently investigating sustainable alternatives for Foundation Industries with key investments in molten metal systems, electrical carbon and thermal ceramics, which are dependent on carbonised/graphitised materials.

Published: February 11th, 2022
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