Biobased Materials Science

Biobased Materials: Core Materials of this Century

We foster researchers and engineers who lead the new era by exploring new aspects in the fields of material science and engineering of biobased materials, core materials in this century.

Education and Research in Interdisciplinary Fields

We foster researchers and engineers who play a leading role in the new era by exploring new aspects in the fields of material science and engineering of biobased materials, which will serve as core materials in this century. Biobased materials are defined as materials produced through a new process using the raw materials of plants and other renewable biomass resources. The following points are essential for exploration:

1. The understanding and effective use of biological resources, especially microbes and plants, as raw materials;
2. Methods for developing raw materials into practicable materials through chemical and biological control;
3. Methods for clarifying material properties, especially correlations between fine structures and functional expressions, and for reflecting this in material development; and
4. Technology for processing biobased materials into fiber, plastic, and other products

We are engaged in research and education not only in fundamental fields, such as organic chemistry, physical chemistry, polymer chemistry and physics, but also in a wide variety of interdisciplinary fields, such as environmentally-related chemistry, bio-related chemistry, material chemistry, fiber science, process engineering, functional biology, bio processing, bioscience, applied microbiology, bio molecule science, nano material science, and nano bioscience.
By offering courses in these fields, we can foster human resources who are equipped with a comprehensive understanding of a wide range of academic fields.

Laboratory Information

System Engineering for Bio-resources Bio-based Materials Chemistry
Combining the disciplines of organic chemistry and biochemistry, we convert biomass into molecules that can be organically synthesized and, using these molecules, synthesize polymers, such as polylactic acids. We also conduct research on the conversion of paint into biomass, a little-studied topic, and seek to improve microbial functions organo-chemically or electrochemically. To promote this budding interdisciplinary research, both faculty and students must study other scientific disciplines. We invite you to join us in creating a new field, integrated organic chemistry-biochemistry.

Research themes: Production process for bio-based materials, Screening of microbes producing bio-vinyl monomers and its application to development of novel medical polymers, Synthesis of functional organic materials and biomolecule conjugates
Keywords: Microbial production/Microbial electrochemistry/Process engineering/Synthetic chemistry/Polymer chemistry
Our laboratory conducts basic and applied research to synthesize practical bio-based materials using ingredients from biomass. In our research, we develop new synthetic methods (chemo/bio-conversion) for existing bio-based materials such as polylactic acid, design and synthesize molecules for new bio-based materials, and evaluate their properties and functions. We also create new plastics using natural polymers such as polysaccharides and DNA. It is our hope that our daily research efforts will contribute not only to replacing existing plastics, but also to establishing new areas of material science and engineering research to achieve a paradigm shift in materials in this century.

Research themes: Synthesis of bio-based materials, Preparation of novel functional polymers from biopolymers, Molecular design and evaluation of novel bio-inert surfaces for medical applications
Bio-functional Materials Bio-nanofiber
We identify the relationships between the structures and functions of biomaterials such as polysaccharides and proteins in solution and gels, using X-ray measurement and molecular modeling methods. We also develop materials using cellulose nanofibers. Our results are used in applied research and the development of new fiber and functional materials. We also look at dyeing and functional processing of hair and fiber using bio-based materials. The properties of bio-based materials, such as sustainable availability, low environmental impact, and high safety, are important factors for materials expected to come into wide use. We also continue to examine the properties unique to certain materials with the purpose of developing materials that take advantage of those properties. We are focusing on processing biopolymers into nano-/micro- fibers by using a nanotechnology termed electrospinning. One purpose is to increase the spinnability and the fiber properties of various biopolymers (cellulose, polylactide, DNA, etc.) in aspect of fiber diameter, higher-order structure, mechanical properties and thermal properties. The other purpose is taming the electrically driven jet to form well-defined three-dimensional structure in micro- resolution as a scaffold for the application of tissue engineering. Knowledge of chemistry, physics, and biology are necessary to deal with these issues. Also, the electrospinning machine will always be updated to achieve excellent fabrics. Why not join us!

Research themes: Fabrication and characterization of biobased polymers by using conventional and electrospinning processes.
Keywords: Biopolymer/High-performance high-ordered fibers

Properties of Nanomaterials
The research goal of our laboratory is to elucidate the relationship between static/dynamic nano-to-micro scale structures and properties of polymeric materials, especially biobased polymeric materials. We have investigated molecular aggregation structures (including ordered structures, amorphous structures and patterns) formed on polymeric materials in the solid state such as fibers and thin films of polymers or polymer alloys by using physicochemical techniques, spectroscopic methods and methods of scattering/diffraction of electromagnetic waves (X-rays (synchrotron X-rays), neutrons, visible lights). At the same time, we develop fabrication/design guidelines for new materials with the aim of generating unique properties. Elucidating the material properties of bio-based polymers at the molecular level and developing structure evaluation technology for polymeric materials are areas of significant focus in our promotion of green innovation.

Research themes: Structures and Properties of Multiphase
/Polymeric Materials (Especially Biobased Polymers)
/Structural Investigations on the Thin Films of Biobased /Polymeric Materials and Organic-Inorganic Hybrid Materials
Keywords: Block Copolymers/Microphase-Separated Structures/Crystallization of Biobased Polymers/Polymer Thin Film/Surface Structure of Polymer/Scattering and Diffractions of synchrotron X-rays