Crystal Owens (email | web): is a PhD student and MathWorks Fellow in mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she focuses on the rheology of complex fluids - especially yield stress fluids - and 3D printing. She holds a Master's Degree ('17) from MIT where she worked on LEGO-based microfluidics, and a Bachelor's Degree ('15) from Duke University also in mechanical engineering with a minor in math. While at Duke, her research work included studying acoustic manipulation of microparticles. Outside of research, she has been involved with various groups on MIT campus, including Hyperloop and the Society for Women Engineers. In her free time she enjoys reading, running, bartending for her graduate residence, and volunteering as MIT's Tim the Beaver mascot.

Talk details: Quantifying dissolution of cellulose in ionic liquids towards recycling of natural textiles
The same properties that imbue excellent durability to popular textiles simultaneously inhibit their recyclability. In this talk, I discuss how one ionic liquid adeptly disrupts strong interchain hydrogen bonding to dissolve cellulose (cotton) fibers into a processable solution, and introduce a rheometric analysis based on superposition methods to extract the evolving viscoelastic spectrum of a solution of dissolving fibers and, ultimately, dissolution kinetics. The resulting solvent-specific information is useful to guide processing of cellulose into new synthetic fibers, and to inform limits to recycling based on time and viscosity.