Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"Effect of Salts on the Dissolution Behavior of Cellulose"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Spring 2015 - DURI
Research area(s):
Bio-polymer Science; Chemistry; Food Science; Life Science; Physics
Project Description:
Cellulose, the most abundant renewable resource in nature, is considered as one of the promising substitutes for petroleum materials. It is inexpensive and exhibits favorable properties such as good biocompatibility, biodegradability and low toxicity. However, cellulose is water insoluble and thus its wholesome utility especially in food and pharmaceutical applications is highly limited. Our preliminary results suggest that salts such as ZnCl2 are effective in solubilizing this biopolymer, and. High tensile strength fibers and films could be made from the zinc-cellulose complexes. The zinc-cellulose complex formation is a path-dependent process as there are many possibilities during the dissolution process. In addition, metal ions appear to interfere the complex formation as well as alter the physical properties of the obtained fibers and films. For example, in the presence of CaCl2, zinc-cellulose films are rigid and transparent. The focus of the current project is to understand the structure-function relationships in the zinc-cellulose complexes so as to unravel the interaction sequences between the cellulose and salt ions.
Expected Student Contributions:
1. Preparation of zinc-cellulose complex solutions in the presence of a series of metal ions 2. Preparation and characterization of fibers and films 3. Preparation of samples for the X-ray, Rheology and NMR analysis, and measure the solution and structural properties
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
1.The student should spend approximately 6 hours per week to this project. 2.GPA above 3.0, strong interest and commitment towards basic and applied research is required. 3.It is even better if the student wish to be a graduate student after finish his /her undergraduate study.
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 2 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Xu, Qin
department of food science

Student Supervisor

Qin Xu
Research Assistant Professor

Cooperating Faculty

Osvaldo Campanella
Agriculture and Biological Engineering/Agriculture
Srinivas Janaswamy