Ikra Anwar

Ikra Anwar is a Sophomore studying Chemical Engineering. My bioplastic project involves investigating the feasibility of PHBV blends for use in a countertop popcorn maker. The plastic would be used specifically in small, k-cup like containers inside the machine.



Joshua David Bensur

Joshua David Bensur is a fourth year Material Science & Engineering student with a minor in Nuclear Engineering graduating in May 2020. He is currently working on a bioplastics project involving the use of PLA with modifications to improve properties from mechanical to barrier. It is the goal that these modified materials can offer significant improvement to bioplastics used in industry applications with a focus in packaging.



Peter Dent

Peter is a graduating undergraduate senior working on the characterization of PHBV compounds by using rheological methods. The largest focus for the research is to evaluate the melt strength of the PHBV compared to PHBV blends designed to improve the branching properties of the material. Higher polymer chain branching leads to higher melt strength, which we aim to observe as an increase in extensional viscosity at higher strains. Ultimately, we seek to characterize these materials, and develop a method for characterizing new compounds, by the extent of their extensional thickening behavior in an effort to learn more about how we can compound with PHBV to improve its properties to replace petroleum-derived thermoplastics in food packaging applications.



Tolulope Lawal

Tolulope Lawal is a Materials Science and Engineering major with a focus in polymers. She is working on reinforcing bio-plastics with invasive plant species to increase their mechanical properties.



Kirsten Lower

Kirsten Lower is a second year student majoring in Food Science and Technology. She is working on evaluating bioplastic’s molecular structure using GPC. 



Alec Pellicciotti

Alec is a Chemical Engineering major working on modifying cellulose to create compounds that have high water vapor and oxygen barriers to be used as blends in other biodegradable plastics such as PHBV and PLA. He is performing DVS testing to measure the water vapor impermeability as well as TGA and DSC thermal testing and mechanical testing.



Mariane Mendes Rodrigues

Mariane is an International Research Scholar visiting from the University of São Paulo (FZEA/USP). She is a Food Engineering major working on the spent coffee grounds bioplastic project.