Honors College
 

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Major

Biomedical Engineering

Advisor(s)

Michael Mason

Committee Members

Douglas Bousfield, Mark Haggerty, Andre Khalil, Mehdi Tajvidi

Graduation Year

May 2020

Publication Date

Spring 5-2020

Abstract

Cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) are a promising biomaterial made of cellulose, the most abundant biopolymer on the planet, and are produced in mass quantities by the Process Development Center at the University of Maine.One promising application of these materials are low-density foams, or aerogels, which are commonly prepared using lyophilization and solvent-exchange methods. Each of these methods rely on different physical and chemical processes to remove liquid from a given substrate and may impact the overall structure of a material in different ways. The purpose of this work was to determine if these drying techniques have any significant effect on the structural properties of low-density CNF aerogels. Additionally, samples with varying amounts of CNF solids were tested in conjunction with these drying methods to quantify the effects of increased concentrations of CNF solids on the structural properties of these materials. These properties were examined using testing procedures to quantify density, porosity, and compressive strength. Results show that these properties are certainly influenced by the concentration of CNF within a sample, and further investigation into the characteristics and applications of this material will prove to be beneficial for both Maine’s economy and the biomedicine industry.

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