Praveena Veronica Raj

PhD (2017)
B. Eng (Hons) (Chemical)

Project Title
Interaction between Celullose Nanofibres and Charged Polymers

Dr. Warren Batchelor and Prof. Gil Garnier

Project Description

Naturally occuring ligno-cellulosic materials are composed of bundles of cellulose chains called fibrils with cross-sectional dimensions from 10 to 20 nm and lengths of microns. Through a combination of mechanical, chemical and enzymatic treatments, these fibrils can be separated and used as a cheap source of nanofibres. Recently, cellullose nanofibres have been attracting great interest as they are chemically inert, biodegradable, have high strength and stiffness, are compatible with a wide range of materials and can also be easily mixed or extruded due to the short fibre length. They can be used for scaffolds in protein engineering, additives in non-woven manufacture and composites, reinforce fibres in bio composites, used to produce hydrogels, anti-microbial films and in high technology devices.

The stability and rheology of a celullose nanofibre suspension can be modified by adsorbing polymers to the surface of the fibres. The polymer can either cause an attraction between particles, leading to aggregation and network formation which increases the viscosity and yield stress, or cause repulsion between fibres which lowers yield stress and viscosity, producing a more stable suspension.

The primary research aim is to develop methods to characterize celullose nanofibre dimensions in suspension and understand the interaction of cellulose nanofibres with charged polymers in suspension. The effect of addition of different molecular weights, amount of charge, composition and concentration of charged polymers on the interaction on celullose nanofibres will be investigated. The effect of varying the type of celullose nanofibres used will also be studied.



Bachelor of Engineering (with Honours) in the field of Chemical Engineering , Monash University             2012
Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering Research, Monash University            2017

Employment Experience

Kencana Bestwide Sdn. Bhd., Malaysia

Industrial Trainee

- Assisted in design of fire sprinkler system

December 2011 - February 2012

Intran Technology Sdn. Bhd., Malaysia

Industrial Trainee

- Involved in the design of a biotech plant which extracted enzymes from palm oil kernel

- Involved in the design of laboratory which would be used for screening of tuberculosis in refugees and migrant workers

December 2010 - January 2011

Research Interests
  • Applications of Cellulose Nanofibres