Suchitha Devadas


This presentation was given live via Zoom at 11:00 a.m. (Eastern Time) on Wednesday, April 22, 2020.



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There are many emerging contaminants present in water and their presence can induce detrimental health effects including the disruption of the endocrine system in humans. Hence, there is a need to find an innovative separation technology for contaminants removal from aqueous streams. In this study, lignin, a biopolymer, which is a waste product produced in abundance mostly from the paper and pulp industry, is studied. Lignin in blend with polyacrylonitrile (PAN) was fabricated using electrospinning techniques. This process allows the production of nanoscale fibers with a large surface area and high porosity which increases adsorption rates overcoming the lower surface area and pore size of conventional adsorbents. Adsorbing mats comprised of a blend of lignin (alkali, low sulfonate content) and PAN in an N,N-Dimethylformamide (DMF) solvent binder using electrospinning were produced. Different ratios between 100:0 and 20:80 of PAN and lignin were electrospun to study their morphology using an optical microscope and a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The viscosity of PAN in DMF was high, but viscosity decreased with addition lignin. Thermal analysis of produced nanofibers was examined using thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) to study on crosslinking of PAN/lignin fiber mats. Based on results, heat treatment of nanofibers was done at 300℃ in a tube furnace with a rate of 5℃/min to stabilize nanofibers by cross-linking for greater adsorption. The proposed research will aid in the fabrication of an efficient lignin nanofiber as an emergent green approach in toxin removals from water. These nanofibers have potential use in many other chemical separations and adsorption technologies.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Erick Vasquez

Primary Advisor's Department

Chemical and Materials Engineering


Stander Symposium project, School of Engineering

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Clean Water and Sanitation; Life Below Water

Fabrication and Characterization of Polyacrylonitrile/lignin based nanofibers for potential applications in water purification.