Department of Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering
With an increase in worldwide environmental pollution caused by non-biodegradable polymers, research on the development of biodegradable polymers is both necessary and valuable to support global sustainability and to help solve the petroleum crisis and environmental problems. Commercially available soy products, such as soy protein isolate, soy flour, and soy protein concentrate, and corn products such as zein, distilled dried grains with solubles have attracted much attention because of their abundance, low cost, and good biodegradability.
David Grewell's group focuses on developing soy and corn-based protein plastics as well as developing and characterizing processing techniques. The ultimate goal of this work is the adoption of these materials into a wide range of application, such as home and garden supplies, temporary signage, toys, building materials, industrial packaging. While the proteins extracted from soybeans and corn grains are producing promising results, the group is also investigating the other soy and corn products as well due to their price difference.
The group has a wide range of processing equipments from single and twin screw extruders, compression molding systems, injection molding machines, melt flow index systems, high speed mixers and thermal treatment chambers.