ICNF 2021 - 5th International Conference on Natural Fibers
Probing the structure and properties of natural fibre composites using spectroscopy
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at University of Bristol, UK
Steve Eichhorn graduated in Physics from the University of Leeds in 1993 and subsequently completed a Masters degree in Paper and Forestry Industries Technology at Bangor and UMIST in 1994/5. He then went on to do a PhD degree, graduating in 1999 on the subject of the "Deformation Micromechanics of Regenerated Cellulose Fibres". His academic appointments have been as a temporary Lecturer in the Department of Paper Science (then separate from the School of Materials) in 1997-8 and as a Visiting Research Scientist from 1998-1999. After this period he went to work under the supervision of Professor Bob Young FREng FRS as a postdoctoral research associate (1999-2002) and was appointed as a Lecturer in the Materials Science Centre in 2002, and subsequently Senior Lecturer and Reader. In 2011 he took up a position at the University of Exeter as a Professor in Materials Science. He was the Head of Engineering at Exeter from 2014-2017. In September 2017 he took up his present position as a Chair in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Bristol. Since joining Bristol he acted as an interim Head of School for 6 months.
His research interests are the interface between natural and biomaterials research with particular emphasis on cellulosic materials and composites. He has ongoing research interests in the following areas: Natural Fibre Composites; High Performance Cellulose Fibres; Carbon Fibres from Sustainable Precursors; Cellulosic Gels; Nanocomposites; Decolonisation of the curriculum and Decolonial Epistomology in Engineering and STEM subjects.
In terms of techniques, Professor Eichhorn has particular expertise in the use of Raman spectroscopy, synchrotron x-ray diffraction and molecular dynamics/mechanics modelling of polymeric materials.
Professor Eichhorn is a Fellow of the ACS Cellulose and Renewable Materials division and its current Chair (2017-2019). He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Professor Eichhorn was the winner of the Rosenhain Medal and Award from the Institute of Materials, Minerals, and Mining in 2011, the Hayashi Jisuke Prize from the Japanese Cellulose Society in 2017, and the Swinburne Medal and Prize from the Institute of Materials, Minerals, and Mining in 2020.
This talk will cover previous work and the latest developments in using specifically Raman and fluorescence spectroscopies to probe the structure of natural fibre composites. The use of Raman spectroscopy to assess the interfaces in cellulose nanofibre composites will be addressed, showing how it is possible to carry out quantitative analysis of the dispersion and mixing of the reinforcing phase. The comparable use of fluorescence spectroscopy will also be presented, showing how the different techniques yield different information, and it varying levels of spatial and quantitative precision. Specific examples will be given, both from the literature for wood, cellulose nanocomposites, and hydrogel materials that enable a better understanding of structure, properties and processing relationships.