Green chemistry is “the utilization of a set of principles that reduces or eliminates the use or generation of hazardous substances in the design, manufacture, and application of chemical products.”
Because much of our world works with chemical products, NC State University researchers are working to replace polluting processes with green manufacturing processes and applications processes.
Dr. Lucian Lucia, Associate Professor at the Department of Forest Biomaterials and Associate Faculty at the Department of Chemistry at NC State University and his collaborators have joined forces to come up with a sensational discovery in green chemistry.
“We uncovered a very unusual separations’ phenomenon in a biomaterial known as bacterial cellulose” says Lucia. “Nanocellulose fibers bioengineered by bacteria are a high-performance three-dimensional cross-linked network which can powerfully confine a dispersed liquid medium such as water. The strong chemical and physical interactions of dispersed water molecules with the entangled cellulosic network allow these materials to be super ideal substrates for effective liquid separation. This type of phenomenon can be characterized as green with no equivalent precedent. We demonstrated that the renewable bacterial nanocellulosic membrane can be used as a stable liquid-infused system for the development of soft surfaces with superwettability and special adhesion properties and thus address intractable issues normally encountered by solid surfaces.”
The paper “Bacterial Superoleophobic Fibrous Matrices: A Naturally Occurring Liquid-Infused System for Oil–Water Separation” was published online on February 19, 2021. It was co-authored by Zahra Ashrafi, Ph.D. student in Fiber and Polymer Science at NC State, Zimu Hu, Graduate Student at NC State, and Wendy Krause, Associate Professor at the Department of Textile Engineering,