University of British Columbia,
Keywords: biomass, nanomaterials, sustainable materials
Summary:In this seminar I will first introduce UBC’s BioProducts Institute, an innovative ecosystem of high-impact fundamental and applied research that brings together inter- and multi-disciplinary scientists, engineers, and market and policy experts to unlock the full potential of materials, chemicals and fuels that can be produced from forest resources. I will then share our experience with biological systems, especially, structured, hierarchical and nano-scaled building blocks that develop multiple functions. They are best exemplified by nanocelluloses, which display thermo-mechanical and optical properties that are central to the field of biomimicry. Together with nanolignins and other materials produced from renewable resources, such particles are being explored as possible solutions to the future material demands. The interfacial assembly and structuring in water, the natural biosynthesis medium, dictate the opportunity for any potential utilization. I will summarize our experience in this area, considering fundamental aspects such as the interactions and the assembly at solid/liquid, liquid/liquid and gas/liquid interfaces. Recognizing the importance of these aspects, several examples of advanced materials produced from cellulose, lignin and tannins will be introduced, including those with bioactivity, stimuli-responsiveness and capabilities for energy harvesting.