Discipline: Technology & Engineering
Subcategory: STEM Research
Mahesh Hosur - Tuskegee University
Co-Author(s): Anil Netravali, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY Maria Auad, Auburn University, Auburn, AL Vijaya Rangari, Shaik Zainuddin, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL
Factors such as greater environmental awareness, societal concern and depletion of petrochemical resources together provide an impetus to develop new materials and products that are based on natural fibers, waste materials, and biopolymers. Biocomposite materials provide a significant competitive advantage for manufacturers over traditional reinforcing fibers such as glass and resins such as polyesters as product reuse or recycling at the end of life becomes the norm. Such drivers are regulations-based and a number of countries have established laws to encourage the use of recycled and/or bio-based “green” products. In addition to their use in automotive and building parts, these materials can be used to prepare components such as the casings for computers, monitors and mobile phone cases. Additionally, technical benefits such as low density, high toughness, good specific strength properties, ease of separation, enhanced energy recovery, carbon dioxide sequestration and biodegradability will all act to drive the growth of markets based on biocomposites. Development of biodegradable resins and high-strength fibers holds great promise for replacing many of the synthetic advanced composites currently in use. In order to address this important materials need, we are developing nanobiomaterials that are derived from biorenewable and waste resources that would provide comparable properties to the current generation non-biodegradable synthetic composite materials. In order to make nanobiocomposites with almost all the constituents made of natural materials, we have assembled researchers who have an established track record in synthesizing biopolymers, and processing and characterization of biocomposites with natural fibers and soy based polymers. Through collaborative activities, we are developing constituent materials for advanced green nanocomposites from biological/waste sources by establishing a center of excellence in nanobiomaterials derived from biorenewable and waste resources. These efforts will be carried out through three subprojects; 1) Synthesis and characterization of nanobiomaterials, 2) Synthesis and characterization of biopolymers and nanobiocomposites, and 3) Processing, performance evaluation and technology transition of green nanobiocomposites to products.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NSF-CREST (grant # 1137681), NSF EPSCoR (grant #1158862)
Faculty Advisor: None Listed,