Skip to main content

For over 40 years, the Department of Forest Biomaterials (formally the Wood and Paper Science Department) at N.C. State has graduated exemplary advanced degree students and enjoyed a close partnership with industry. Our Master’s and PhD graduates are in high demand throughout the United States and around the world. Our alumni fill leadership roles in management, research, technical services, marketing, engineering, and academia across a wide variety of sectors involving wood and paper sciences, paper engineering and, most recently, forest biomaterials.

Forest BiomaterialsThere are currently four advanced degree options available through FB:

  • Master of Forest Biomaterials: this is a non-thesis, 2-year professional degree program for students whose primary interests do not include research.
  • Master of Science in Forest Biomaterials: this is normally a 2-year program, including coursework and research.
  • PhD in Forest Biomaterials: this program typically lasts two to three years beyond the Master’s program.
  • Distance Masters in Forest Biomaterials: this is a 100% distance-based Master’s program for industry professionals with at least one year of relevant industry experience. The degree earned by these students is the Master of Forest Biomaterials.

What to Expect

Graduate students in FB learn the theory and applications of chemistry, physics and engineering as it pertains to biomaterial science and engineering. Major areas of activity are concentrated in the bioenergy, biopolymers, wood and paper fields. For most programs, a significant part of the graduate experience is performing original research and defending a thesis.

To see our graduate student listing, their backgrounds, and a brief description about their research projects, visit our Student Profiles page.

 

Examples of Research Topics

Examples of funded research projects over the past 5 years include the following areas:

Biomaterials

  • Production of Chemicals from Sugars and Lignin
  • Novel Soy based Surfactants
  • Fundamental Insights into Nanocellulose Production and Properties
  • A Fundamental Understanding of Cellulose and the Effects of Mechanical and Enzymatic Treatments
  • Polysaccharide Based Films and Foams
  • Cellulose Based Plastics and Fibers
  • Nanocellulose for Stabilized Surfactants
  • Value Added Lignin Products
  • Development of Cellulose Based Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering
  • A Method to Measure Cellulose Degree of Polymerization
  • Uses for Banana Stem Fibers in Absorbent Systems
  • Characterization of Non-woody Lignin and the Impacts for Enzyme Hydrolysis
  • Sum Frequency Generation Spectroscopy and its Use to Characterize Cellulosic Materials
  • Biorefinery Lignin as Stabilizers in Emulsions for Power Generation
  • Feasibility Study for Green, Biobased Reactive Sorbent Materials for Neutralization of Chemical Warfare Agents
  • Production and Characterization of Inexpensive Renewable Hydrogels for Desalination and Heavy Metal Removal

Bioenergy

  • Improved Production of Wood Fuels
  • A Fundamental Understanding of Cellulose and the effects of Mechanical and Enzymatic Treatments
  • Adding Value to Non-wood Bioethanol Production
  • Integrated Modeling of Supply Chain, Financial and Life Cycle for Biofuels
  • Integrated Biomass Supply Systems
  • Fundamental Studies of Enzyme Hydrolysis
  • Opportunities for Bioenergy Exports
  • Characterization of Non-woody Lignin and the Impacts for Enzyme Hydrolysis
  • Paper Fiber Mat wetting Agents
  • Modeling Low Energy Biofuel Production Systems
  • Sum Frequency Generation Spectroscopy and its Use to Characterize Cellulosic Materials
  • A Process Model for an Innovative Biorefinery
  • Treatments for Enhanced Enzymatic Hydrolysis
  • Biorefinery Lignins as Stabilizers in Emulsions for Power Generation
  • Renewable Hydrocarbon Fuels from Fast Pyrolysis Oils
  • Wood to Ethanol Research Consortium I
  • Wood to Ethanol Research Consortium II
  • Biofuels from US Hardwoods
  • Life Cycle and Technoeconomic Analysis of Biomass Pretreatment Alternatives
  • Integrated Biorefinery

Paper Science

  • Use of Soy Proteins to Enhance Paper Properties
  • Bamboo and Non-woody Plant Fibers for New Materials
  • Soy Protein for Control of Tacky Deposits
  • A Method to Measure Cellulose Degree of Polymerization
  • Characterization of Non-woody Lignin and the Impacts for Enzyme Hydrolysis
  • Uses for Banana Stem Fibers in Absorbent Systems
  • Paper Fiber Mat Wetting Agents

Sustainable Materials and Technology

  • Secondary Wood Products Business-to-Business Connections
  • Development of Solid and Hollow Core Cross Laminated Timber Panels
  • Value Added Lignin Products
  • Genetic Engineering and Bioproducts: A Psychometric Study of Market Sensitivity
  • Opportunities for Bioenergy Exports
  • The Resilient Home
  • Biofuels from US Hardwoods
  • Reinventing the Hardwood Markets using Local Channels

As an FB graduate student, you will be encouraged to complete a series of core classes, and further develop your own program of study to meet your unique interests. You can select courses offered by other departments or colleges at NC State and from courses offered by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill or Duke University. Various research, thesis, credit hour and qualifying exam requirements may apply, depending on the program.

FB graduate students are also expected to select a chairman and other advisory committee members and to submit a graduate plan of work by the end of the first semester of residence. We expect all graduate students to take any qualifying examinations that might apply within one year of residence.

The FB graduate program places considerable emphasis on developing a strong minor in one or more supporting disciplines such as organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, chemical engineering, mathematics, statistics, biology, engineering mechanics, mechanical engineering, physics, economics, or business administration.

Financial Support

FB Graduate students typically receive financial support of $38,000 annually, which includes a stipend, tuition and health benefits. In addition, several fellowships are available, including some that offer extra funds for the recipient’s professional development. Fellowships also provide increased research opportunities.

Available research assistantships include in-state and out-of-state tuition and health insurance. There are numerous other sources of financial aid available as well. Review our Assistantships & Fellowships section for more information.

Research Facilities

Outstanding research facilities are available to graduate students at NC State. These include state-of-the-art industry-scope research laboratories, numerous smaller labs, NC State’s Centennial Campus facilities, the resources of our many Research Centers and more. Review our Graduate Research and Research Facilities sections for more information.

Admissions

Please review our How To Apply section for details on admissions requirements, application procedures and application deadlines.

 

Contact Us

Contact Ilona PezslenForest Biomaterials Graduate Program Director
919.513.1265