CHE5886 - Advanced biopolymers - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Department of Chemical Engineering

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Mark Banaszak Holl


Assoc Professor Warren Batchelor

Unit guides



  • First semester 2019 (Online)


This unit will equip students with a detailed understanding of advanced biopolymers. Wood and non-wood lignocellulose fibres will be covered in detail, including the isolation and utilisation of various components. Students will cover the efficient, large-scale production of cellulose nanomaterials derived from wood fibres, investigate alternative fibre sources, and learn about a variety of bio-derived polymers such as Chitosan and different protein polymers. The opportunities afforded from lignin and hemicellulose will also be discussed.

The course covers the relationship between fibre surface chemistry and functionality, biopolymer structural arrangement and functionality, biopolymers as an alternative to petroleum-derived analogues, development of packaging materials, and market opportunities for biopolymers.


On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Appraise the different types of naturally occurring biopolymers in terms of availability, morphology, composition and functionality to select the most appropriate manufacturing process.
  2. Analyse the strengths and weaknesses of different biopolymers.
  3. Assess the biomass composition balance of a mill and propose opportunities for business growth and development.
  4. Design a biopolymer product based on market needs and formulate the most effective composition and process to achieve the required properties.


Continuous assessment: 60%

Case study take-home exam: 40 %

Students are required to achieve at least 45% in the total continuous assessment component and at least 45% in the final examination component and an overall mark of 50% to achieve a pass grade in the unit. Students failing to achieve this requirement will be given a maximum of 45% in the unit.

Workload requirements

144 hours of study

See also Unit timetable information