Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (MSChE)

Degree Level



Chemical Engineering


Keisha Bishop Walters

Committee Member

Nayani, Karthik

Second Committee Member

Beitle, Jr., Robert (Bob)

Third Committee Member

Monroe, Jacob

Fourth Committee Member

Jiang, Qinglong


Biopolymer, Copolymer, Lignin, Polymer blend, Water remediation


Increasing industrial interest in reducing fossil fuels in virgin polymer production and incorporating bio-based polymeric materials has led researchers to explore the potential of utilizing plant-based polymers such as lignin. Chapter 1 of this thesis presents a comprehensive overview of copolymerization and blending techniques for lignin and synthetic polymers, emphasizing different types of modifications and copolymerization techniques as well as key parameters such as temperature, reaction time, pH level, and solution compositions. These valorization methods are directed towards the development of high-value lignin-based materials with properties well-suited for various commercial applications. Chapter 2 offers a fundamental exploration into the amination of lignin through the Mannich reaction for water remediation applications. The pretreatment of lignin via phenolation—prior to amination—enhances the dye adsorption capacity by increasing the ionizable amino content in aminated lignin. Aminated lignin, with its outstanding properties, emerges as a promising candidate for adsorbing toxic anionic dyes, such as Congo red and methyl orange, from wastewater. Lastly, Chapter 3 focuses on the synthesis and characterization of lignin-grafted-polystyrene (L-g-PS) copolymers using atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) along with blends of L-g-PS with polystyrene homopolymer (L¬-g-PS/PS). The L¬-g-PS copolymer and L¬-g-PS/PS blend both exhibit higher thermal stability and improved miscibility compared to the blend of unmodified lignin with polystyrene (L/PS), making them promising bio-based polymeric materials.