Faculty Advisor

Michael T. Timko

Faculty Advisor

Ravindra Datta

Faculty Advisor

Lyubov Titova

Faculty Advisor

Susan C Roberts


Vibrational and thermal behavior of several important systems were studied. The first study was a measurement of the infrared vibrational spectra of glucose and two important glucose dimers (cellobiose and maltose) as a function of temperature. The purpose of his study was to measure shifts in vibrational band positions to gain insight into carbohydrate reactivity. The second study was on hydrothermally treated coffee waste biomass. Here, collaborators at University of Campinas (UNICAMP, Brazil) treated coffee waste biomass in a flow-through subcritical water hydrolysis reactor. The purpose of the M.S. study on coffee waste was to understand the chemical changes that occurred to the residual solids during hydrolysis treatment. Vibrational spectroscopy and thermal analysis techniques were used. The third and final study was to understand the chemical composition of the solid product resulting from co-solvent enhanced lignin fractionation (CELF) of several biomass feeds. Collaborators at University of California Riverside (UCR) recently developed the CELF process. The purpose of the M.S. study on the CELF solid product was to understand its composition to help guide the CELF reactor design and determine applications for the CELF solids. Taken together, the 3 studies are integrated into a cohesive whole that demonstrates the use of spectroscopic and thermal techniques for characterizing biomass and understanding its composition at the molecular level.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Chemical Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





biomass, characterization, vibrational spectroscopy, thermogravimetry