Synthesis and characterization of novel cellulosics
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The search for alternatives to the fossil-based products has dramatically surged during past few decades primarily due to the problems associated with the scarcity of these sources and global environmental concerns. Among those many alternatives, exploitation of cellulose, as a raw material to develop novel products has been a constant attempt since it has never lost its both economic and industrial impact. Cellulose is known for its significant contribution as a raw material and as a fascinating sustainable macromolecule, which exhibits wide availability and versatile chemical reactivity to discover novel derivatives for broad range of applications. Conversion of cellulose C2/C3 secondary hydroxyl groups to dialdehyde groups in the presence of periodate is an extremely useful method for regioselective oxidation of cellulose and to activate the polymer for further derivatization. This thesis is primarily focused on synthesis and characterization of wide range of cellulose derivatives exploiting facile periodate oxidation methodology. The first study investigated the use of periodate oxidation as a potential method to synthesize a novel water soluble derivative of cellulose from bleached hardwood Kraft pulp. The work focused on the effect of periodate oxidation and sulfonation reaction on water solubility, morphology and structure of cellulose fibers. The results showed a significant increase in water solubility (2.85 -28.5 g/L) and complete change in surface morphology of the fibers due to the introduction of sulfonic acid groups. In the second study, the same reaction scheme was employed on bead cellulose to prepare anionic 2,3-disulfonated beads. Due to the presence of negatively charged sulfonic acid groups, the beads were found to be agglomerated in presence of cationic starch, exhibiting their future application in chromatographic separation. In the third study, model primary amine compounds such as methyl and butyl amines were grafted to nanowhisker surfaces following periodate oxidation and reductive amination. Then, based on the grafting procedure, in the following study, gamma aminobutyric acid (spacer) and syringyl alcohol (linker) was attached to periodate oxidized nanowhiskers to synthesize a novel drug delivery system. The final study investigated the application of periodate oxidized nanowhiskers as chemical cross-linkers to stabilize gelatin gels. It was concluded that the chemical cross-linking has a significant effect on relative increase in percentage of rigid protons, reduced water uptake ability and reduced pore size of the gels. Not only did the chemical cross-linking improve the storage modulus of the gels (150%) and but it also increased the thermal resistance until 50 oC.
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