Advanced Course on Fiber-based Materials and Products

Orlando J. Rojas

Orlando Rojas

Development of Advanced Materials from Lignin and Nano/micro-celluloses

Aalto University (Finland)

Aalto University


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”. His 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 220 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.


We introduce our work related to the application of surface and colloid science in the development of lignocellulose nanomaterials. These efforts take advantage of the process by which nature assembles fibers in a highly hierarchical structure encompassing a wide range of sizes, from the nano to the meter scales. Biopolymers cleaved from the fiber cell wall, including lignin and cellulose in various hierarchical forms, such as (ligno)micro/nanofibrils (L-MNFC) as well cellulose nanocrystals (CNC), are available as main or side streams in biorefinery platforms. They can be used in the development of advanced materials by directing and engineering their re-assembly into multifunctional systems. This includes L-MNFC/CNC films with strength and barrier capabilities, coatings, etc. as well as composites with outstanding mechanical and thermal performance. Such composites display functionalities related to their high surface area, electro-magnetic responsiveness and chemical and mechanical strength.  L-MNFC/CNC can be also integrated with other components in spun filaments, for example. In this lecture I will introduce some examples highlighting their prospects for directing their assembly back to different hierarchical 1D, 2D and 3D structures, which is a quest that can yield useful results in many revolutionary applications.