Graduate Students

Si Chen (Ph.D.)

Graduate Research Assistant (ChE)

Si Chen is currently conducting research on fiber processing methods of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) and nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) suspensions. She will then focus on incorporating these fibers into various polymer matrices for the development of polymer nanocomposites.

Fernando Dri (Ph.D.)

Graduate Research Assistant (CE)

Fernando Dri is currently conducting research on the development of a multiscale framework that can be used to describe and predict the cellulose mechanical behavior and connect atomistically informed models to experiments using continuum-based modeling techniques. In his work, Fernando uses elements of solid mechanics and computational mechanics to advance our fundamental knowledge of the individual and collective structural response of molecular cellulose chains and particles while improving our understanding of cellulose as a fundamental building block for the design of green and sustainable materials.

Hamsini Gopalakrishna

Undergraduate Student Researcher (MSE)

Hamsini Goplakrishna is currently conducting research on the development of electrospinning of nano fibres from nanocellulose particles.

Jen-Chieh Liu "Mjay" (Ph.D.)

Graduate Research Assistant (MSE)

Jen-Chieh is currently conducting research on solution casting methods of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) and nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) suspensions for the processing of neat films (100% cellulose nanoparticles). He is also developing lamination methods for making cellulose based laminate composites. A primary goal is determining the effects of processing variables on neat film (and laminates) transparency and mechanical properties.

Ryan Wagner (Ph.D.)

Graduate Research Assistant (ME)

The goal of my research is to apply Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) methods to the characterization of cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) and cellulose based nanocomposites. I am applying AFM techniques to measure CNC material properties such as elastic constants, surface energies, and failure properties. Particular attention is being given to quantify the uncertainty involved in these experiments. Understanding this uncertainty allows true quantitative comparisons between different samples and insight leading to improved measurement techniques. The future direction of this work is to investigate how the CNCs behave when part of a composite material. AFM can be used to measure nanocomposite properties such as fiber dispersion and fiber/matrix bonding. AFM is one of the only techniques that allows for the investigation of these properties at a length scale of 0.1 to 10 nanometers.

Xiawa Wu

Xiawa Wu (Ph.D.)

Graduate Research Assistant (ME)

My research interest is using molecular dynamics simulation to study atomic-scale characteristics of individual cellulose nanocrystals (CNC). I investigate fundamental level structure-function-property relationships of CNC's, such as their elastic and interfacial properties and atomic-scale structural dependencies.