Faculty Advisor

Lambert, Christopher R.

Faculty Advisor

Timko, Michael T.


In biomass decomposition, acid groups catalyze the degradation of cellulose to form glucose. Liquid phase acid catalysts are commonly used for biomass conversion; however solid acid may be a more cost-effective approach since they obviate the need for dilute acid pretreatment. Currently, the required acidity of solid acid catalysts to hydrolyze cellulose is unknown. Here, we attempt to develop an electrochemical technique that effectively varies the acidity of solid acid catalysts. We applied voltage offsets to acidic SAMs at varying pH levels and characterized the fraction of protonated acid groups with EIS. The results indicated that SAMs degraded under the experimental conditions, and therefore, the factors that contributed to the stability of SAMs were investigated.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2016


Chemical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Advisor Department

Chemical Engineering