I am organic chemist for the University of Barcelona (1992), master thesis on carbonylation reactions (UB, 1994), and on catalytic hydroformylation reactions for the University of Girona (1996), and PhD on paper engineering and recycling (UdG, 2000). Nowadays, I am Professor at the Chemical Engineering Department of the University of Girona (UdG) since 2008, and leader of the research group on Advanced Biomaterials and Nanotechnology at UdG.
My research expertise comes from about 18 years working mainly on cellulose fibers and on cellulose-based composite materials, but also on pulping and on polymer processing and characterization. As a result, I have published over 83 JCR articles (70 in Q1), with 1600 non-self-citations, participated in about 186 Conferences, written 25 book chapters, and supervised 6 completed PhDs, currently 2 PhDs ongoing.
As for working experience, I worked for one year at R&D Dept. in a pulping company (2001) and for two years at R&D Dept. in a cast-PMMA company (2002-2003). Later on, I became lecturer professor at the University of Girona (2003), where I have mainly developed my research on cellulosic materials and gained over 15 years teaching experience on chemistry and chemical engineering subjects.
My initial research interest was based on the study of natural fiber composites from conventional matrices, as well as on their interfacial compatibility. Later, as post-doc at QMUL (London), I worked on the extraction/production of chitin nanofibers and on the preparation of bacterial cellulose for polymer reinforcement. I have participated in several national and European projects developing composite materials from natural fibers and both conventional and bio-based polymer matrices. Among the different fields of application, I was involved in projects aimed to automotive parts, for packaging, or for building applications. More recently, in collaboration with WWSC-KTH, I have been involved in projects intended to wood-fiber composites by melt processing (BiMac Innovation).
Some of the research focuses from the last 5 years were:
- Better understanding of cellulose-based composites: influence of the surface roughness of cellulose on the results and simulation of mechanical properties (PhD Bayer, 2013); understanding the influence of the fiber orientation in cellulose-based polymer composites (Ansari, 2017); pursuing fibrillation phenomenon during melt-processing (Lo Re, 2018).
- Characterization of cellulose nanofibers: first PhD theses at UdG on nanocelluloses (PhD Gonzalez, 2015), showing how the properties' turn when micro size changes to nanofiber networks.
- Use of nanocelluloses as component in electronic devices (PhD Lay, 2017). High electrical and electrochemical properties were found for cellulose nanostructures combined with conducting elements. Synergy effect between conductive elements immersed in the CNF network was demonstrated.
By considering nanocelluloses as key component, my future research work is intended to multifunctional biocomposites materials and/or their hybrid materials; to investigate the preparation of mesoporous membranes of controlled porosity; to extend the knowledge on cellulose nanocomposites with conductive properties; and to study strategies for transient electronics with (nano)cellulose functional materials.
For all my previous experience and current motivation, the research project on 'Materials and interface design in semi-structural and eco-friendly wood fiber Biocomposites' is of great interest to me, considering all technical/research objectives as well as the ecofriendly challenges implicated.