Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Surojit Gupta


It is no surprise to most that the use of petroleum-based plastics has caused environmental challenges at a global scale. A large percentage of plastic waste is disposed in the natural environment while a small portion of that is biodegradable. One promising solution to tackling the worlds’ dependency on non-renewable plastics is the development of alternative materials such as bioplastics. A few popular biopolymers include polylactic acid (PLA), polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), and cellulose acetate (CA) which boast properties such as biodegradability, sourced from renewable resources, and non-toxicity. In addition, lignin is worth researching as a biopolymer because it is naturally occurring, biodegradable, biocompatible, and has potential as a structural additive. Lignin may be processed to form lignin nanoparticles which takes advantage of greater interfacial bond strength due to an increase in surface area to volume ratio.

In this thesis, we are reporting a method for extracting a fraction of lignin which is soluble in acetone. By using this soluble fraction, we have fabricated and characterized lignin reinforced bioplastics, lignin nanoparticles (in sol and particle form), and coatings on different substrates. In addition, we are proposing a method by using these solutions and their derivatives which have the potential to be deposited using a ultrasonicator sprayer.