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Syntheses and Applications of Molecular Solids and Green Biocomposites
Understanding chemistry of materials remains at the forefront of research in the current decade because of the need to discover novel multi-functional materials. Eco-friendly and sustainable materials have ignited curiosity among the scientific community due to climate change and the need for environmental remediation. This driving force have resulted in a renaissance in rapid developments of such materials. Two examples of these materials are molecular solids and green biocomposites. Though these two materials have been around for over a century, it was not until the last few decades that they have been explored for industrial applications. This dissertation focuses on different aspects of chemistry of these two materials through synthesis, fabrication, and exploration of their potential for different applications. The first part of the thesis focuses on studying the formation dynamics of different types of molecular solids. Within this category, gas hydrates have attracted interest due to their applications as an energy resource, desalination system, and gas storage materials. However, applications of these materials remain limited due to their difficulty in large-scale production along with their ill-understood nucleation and growth mechanism. This dissertation aims at understanding the phase behavior of molecular solids under different temperatures and pressure. The second part of the thesis focuses on studying eco-friendly chemistry to fabricate composite materials. Green biocomposite materials have attracted tremendous interest due to their use as construction materials, prosthetics, insulation materials, and sports goods. In contrast to the existing fabrication process, green biocomposites are 100% sustainable and biodegradable and don’t produce any volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as by-products that are harmful to the environment. This dissertation focused on the development of linker chemistry to create chemically reactive natural fibers (hemp fiber and coco coir) and fabricate biocomposites through lignin modification using green chemistry principles. The methodology involved an eco-friendly pathway using water-based diazonium chemistry to valorize natural fibers into multi-functional biocomposites. Following the fabrication process, the as-synthesized composites were explored as a growth media for hydroponic (soilless) growth of plants.
Both, Avinash Kumar, "Syntheses and Applications of Molecular Solids and Green Biocomposites" (2022). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI29164792.