Research

At the heart of Green Engineering principles is the idea that we must consider product end-of-life at the design stage. This means thinking about managing materials before any “waste” is produced.

Center for Advanced Fibers and Coating Technologies

Lead: Sergiy Minko

The primary objective of the Center for Advanced Fibers and Coating Technologies is to develop durable coatings and finishes based on biodegradable and bio-benign materials that combine high efficiency, mechanical robustness, permeability, flexibility and possess environmentally sound biodegradable properties. The center will initially explore nanocellulose-based textile finishing and dyeing that can be used as coatings on the surfaces of building walls, furniture, roofing, and as finishes for clothing fabrics, footwear, carpets and bedding textiles.

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Center for Biodegradable Polymers and Additives

Lead: Jason Locklin

The Center for Biodegradable Polymers and Additives has a single goal: to develop materials and plastic replacements that completely break down and return to nature when discarded – either in soil, water, or marine environments. 

With respect to plastics, these materials have many forms and functions and typically include additives that change their ultimate properties or the ability to process and form parts, films, and fibers. We also are researching new additives with the design criteria that any additive also must completely break down and not release metals, toxins, or any persistent materials into the environment. 

We are developing new materials based on plantbased (biomass) feedstocks, petroleumbased feedstocks, and also polymers made by microorganisms that have the ultimate fate of replacement products for singleuse items that litter the environment.

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Center for Circular Materials Management

Lead: Jenna Jambeck

Historically, solid waste management has been a very reactive system. We have designed waste management infrastructure around the quantities and types of waste that are generated (up to 2.5 billion metric tons globally). The goal of the Center for Circular Materials Management (C2M2) is to shift the paradigm to proactive materials management.

This means thinking about managing materials before any “waste” is produced. And instead of thinking of our systems as linear models of produce > consume > dispose, consider byproducts and discards as inputs to other systems, mimicking what we observe in nature with cycles of nutrients. 

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