The Isolation of Cellulose Nanocrystals from Pistachio Shells and Their Use in Water Actuating Smart Composites
Marett, Josh Michael
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Composites are a category of materials where two or more materials are used together to enhance each of their strengths. Such materials are often used in airplanes, spacecraft, sporting equipment, and many high-end products. Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) have been research with the goal of improving the environmental sustainability and performance of composite materials. This newly utilized material is found in plants and some animals to provide them with their strength. Researches have already shown that CNCs can improve the performance of many materials while reducing their lifetime environmental impact. In order to increase the market for CNCs, we are looking at costreducing methods of producing them as well as finding exciting new uses for them once they are made. Right now, most CNCs are isolated from wood or cotton, which already have existing markets. This thesis presents a method of using pistachio shells, which are a waste product in many parts of the world including the United States. By finding new sources of CNCs, we hope to add to the body of knowledge and reduce the price of CNC production. This thesis also lays the groundwork for a material that changes shape when exposed to water. By integrating CNCs into only part of a polymer, when water is added, the part with the CNCs will increase in size, causing it to push on the polymer. Our hope is to create a new use for CNC composites to help to increase the market for them. We discuss potential methods and proofs of concept on how to create a 3D-printed part using CNCs and polyurethane.
- Masters Theses