ChE Seminar Series: Cellulose and Chitin Nanomaterials for Circular Plastic Economy

Date/Time

03/09/2020
9:35 am-10:30 am
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Location

100 New Engineering Building
100 NEB
Gainesville, FL 32611

Details

Speaker: Carson Meredith, Ph.D.

Professor and James Harris Faculty Fellow
School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Executive Director, Renewable Bioproducts Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology

Abstract:

There is a strong drive to discover and develop alternatives to conventional plastics that offer the ability to be manufactured and used in a circular manner. In a circular economy, as opposed to a linear one, materials are derived from renewable resources or recycled content, and at the end of life, they are able to be circulated back into production via a chemical, physical or biological pathway. A critical need exists to develop such materials for plastic packaging, which represents the largest contributor to unrecyclable or difficult-to-recycle plastic waste. This seminar will describe recent innovations in preparation of barrier films and coatings, suitable for food or pharmaceutical packaging, based on combinations of cellulose- and chitin-based nanomaterials. Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) and chitin nanofibers (ChNFs) are oppositely-charged, water-dispersible fibers that are abundant and could form the basis of a platform of renewable, high-performance materials.  Because of their high crystalline content, they are of interest for use in barrier packaging. The combination of CNCs and ChNFsto produce alternating layered materials, direct blends, and other composites, results in high barrier properties to oxygen, driven by electrostatics and hydrogen bonding-driven densification. Current challenges are discussed as well, including the improvement to sensitivity to water vapor and manufacturability.

Bio:

Dr. Carson Meredith received a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Tech (1993) and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas, Austin (1998). He was a postdoc at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) from 1998 to 2000, and joined the ChBE faculty at Georgia Tech in 2000. His research interests include fundamentals of colloid and polymer science as applied to

  1. renewable packaging and coatings
  2. bioinspired adhesive materials
  3. high-throughput screening of polymers

Dr. Meredith is a Chief Editor for the journal Emergent Materials(Springer).  In addition he serves as the Executive Director of Georgia Tech’s Renewable Bioproducts Institute, one of eleven interdisciplinary research institutes on the GT campus.

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