Dr. Rojas is Professor of Bio-based Materials in Aalto University (Finland). Previously, he was Professor in the departments of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Forest Biomaterials of North Carolina State University (USA). Earlier in his career he was a senior scientist appointed by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), a postdoctoral fellow in the Institute for Surface Chemistry, Sweden and research assistant in Auburn University. He was appointed as Finland Distinguish Professor (2009-2014) and was Chair of the “Division of Cellulose and Renewable Materials” of the American Chemical Society (2009-2011). He was elected with the distinction of Fellow of the American Chemical Society (2013) for his scientific and professional contributions. He is the recipient of the 2015 Nanotechnology Division Technical Award and IMERYS Prize for outstanding contributions that have advanced the industry’s technology. He was appointed as a “2013-2017 Faculty Scholar” of NCSU and ACS Division Award of “Cellulose and Renewable Materials”. He received the Fibrenamics Award (University of Minho, Portugal, 2016) in recognition for his scientific work and impact in the field of advanced materials from lignocellulose. Recently he was selected as front-runner for the Academy Professor of Finland. Dr. Rojas work is centered on the utilization of lignocellulosic materials in novel, high performance applications and the interfacial and the adsorption behaviors of surfactants and biopolymers at solid/liquid interfaces. He has published over 260 peer-reviewed papers related to these topics. He and his students have given +300 conference presentations and has been invited numerous times (+190) as a speaker in conferences, universities and research centers worldwide. The recent efforts of his group, “Bio-based Colloids and Materials”, deal with the development of nanostructures from the fiber cell wall and cellulose derivatives, the dynamics of enzymatic reactions and the design of stimuli-responsive materials and multiphase systems.
Development of Advanced Lignocellulosic Bioproducts
In this seminar I will introduce our work related to the application of surface and colloid science in the development of lignocellulose bioproducts. These efforts take advantage of the inherent ability of biomolecules to assemble into fibers and other highly hierarchical and multidimensional structures. Lignin, cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) and cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) will be presented as the main building blocks that we use in our research. An underlying aspect is the possibility to control non-specific forces to assemble these materials at the air-liquid-solid interfaces. In turn, dispersions, hydrogels, aerogels, foams and emulsions are produced to enable effective processing into 1D, 2D and 3D structures. From these, we will highlight some examples in our quest to develop functional properties and to address current and future applications. Lignin fibers, nano and microparticles, super strong filaments and fibril networks will be shown as examples of passive or active components in a number of advanced functional materials.