Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Tim Kidd, Honors Thesis Advisor


Van der Waals forces; Aerogels;


The purpose of this study was to establish methods of synthesizing various compositions of nanocellulose aerogels using a top-down ultrasonication synthesis approach. Quantifying the effect composition has on physical properties was also be of interest due to the lack of scientific literature over this material. Microscopic techniques and physical experiments were used to determine how the internal structure of the aerogel material varies with composition and how the internal structure effects the physical properties. The main driving factor behind this study was that not much current scientific literature can be found about how the ultrasonic process effects the nanocellulose aerogels. It has not been shown that nanocellulose aerogels can exhibit Van der Waal interactions with other surfaces. Once this synthesis method is understood, this information can be combined with other studies that have provided possible uses for nanocellulose aerogels which can be found in the current scientific literature such as oil absorption or catalyst support structures.

Overall, there are two primary questions to be answered by this study. First, how does the internal structure of the nanocellulose aerogel vary as the percent composition of the base material is changed using the ultrasonication synthesis method? Second, Do the different internal structures lend to different physical properties of the nanocellulose aerogels such as adhesive and tensile strength? Answering these questions would allow for a better understanding of this novel material and how it can be better controlled when synthesized. This knowledge could also point to ways the nanocellulose aerogel could be used in the future for things such as filtration devices or catalyst support mechanisms.

Year of Submission



Department of Physics

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (24 pages)



File Format


Included in

Physics Commons