Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"DURI: Fabrication and Dynamic Mechanical Analysis of Cellulose Nanofiber Plaques"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Fall 2017 - DURI
Research area(s):
Civil Eng., Mater. Sci. Eng., Chemistry
Project Description:
Cellulose nanofibers are currently derived from wood pulp, but can also be generated from fast-growing plants with mild chemical processing. CNF-based structures can be developed with similar toughness and load-bearing properties as expensive hardwoods, using agricultural waste products or even naturally abundant foliage in non industrialized areas. This touches on several sustainability development goals in the UN Global Compact: Decent work and Economic Growth (#8), Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure (#9), Sustainable Cities and Communities (#11), Responsible Production and Consumption (#12), and Life on Land (#15) through sustainable forest management. We have developed a method for casting cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) into 3D objects (blocks, sheets, cylinders, etc.). Preliminary tests show these to be as tough as inorganic cements, but many times lighter. The uniformity of these objects is critical in quantifying their mechanical strength and weight-bearing properties. This project involves sample preparation, various methods of casting and molding, dynamic mechanical analysis, and computational modeling. It is preferred that the DURI student has taken some coursework or performed labwork in mechanical properties and analysis.
Expected Student Contributions:
This is an NSF-supported project in scalable nano-manufacturing, in which nano-cellulose based materials will be optimized for their use in packaging with a reduced carbon footprint. For work description, see above.
Related Website(s):
None
Desired Qualifications:
It is preferred that the DURI student has taken some coursework or performed labwork in mechanical properties and analysis. Chemistry lab experience is a plus.
Estimated Weekly Hours:
10
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 3 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Name:
Wei, Alexander
Deptartment/College:
chemistry

Student Supervisor

Name:
Miran Mavlan
Title:
PhD student

Cooperating Faculty

Name:
Pablo Zavatieri
Deptartment/College:
Civil Engineering
Name:
Jeff Youngblood
Deptartment/College:
Materials Sci. Eng.