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Ronald C. Sabo

Ronald C. Sabo
Research Materials Engineer
Engineered Composites Science
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
United States
Current Research

Dr. Ron Sabo's research aims at developing next generation composites using sustainable forest resources and a fundamental understanding of material properties and interactions. His work aims to develop advanced composites by understanding and exploiting the properties of materials at the nanometer and molecular scales. More specifically, he is working to develop novel composites produced from natural fibers that have been processed and modified into nanoparticles and nanofibers with unique physical and mechanical properties. Dr. Sabo also has research activities aimed at developing 'green' composites using biodegradable, bio-derived, or recycled materials.

Research Interest
  • Cellulose nanocomposites
  • 'Green' composites
  • Recycling
  • Modification and characterization of lignocellulosic surfaces
  • Reactive extrusion
  • Colloidal and interfacial phenomena
  • University of Florida, Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, 2001
  • Vanderbilt University, B.E., Chemical Engineering and Mathematics, 1997
Featured Publications
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Improving the Hydrolysis and Fibrillation of Wood Into Cellulose Nanomaterials

Year: 2016
Cellulose nanomaterials have been receiving an increasing amount of interest from both the scientific and industrial communities because of their interesting properties, including good strength, absorbency, and optical properties, such as transparency when cast as a film. Cellulose nanofibrils tradi...

Renewable, Biodegradable Polylactic Acid-Cellulose Nanocrystal Composites for Packaging Applications

Year: 2016
Packaging research conducted at the Forest Products Laboratory is aimed at developing fully biobased composites containing cellulose nanomaterials for packaging applications. Cellulose nanomaterials exhibit a number of interesting properties and have been demonstrated to improve the barrier performa...

Improving biopolymers for packaging applications using surface-tailored cellulose nanocrystals

Year: 2017
Demand is rapidly increasing for environmentally friendly packaging materials that are derived from renewable resources and are biodegradable, but many of these “green” polymers do not perform as well as traditional, fossil fuel-derived polymers. By adding tailored cellulose nanocrystals, which are ...

Modifying Cellulose Nanomaterials for Wet Compounding into Polylactic Acid

Year: 2018
Cellulose nanomaterials (CNMs) have been demonstrated to significantly improve various properties, including mechanical and barrier performance, of polymer composites, but one of the major impediments for producing these cellulose nanocomposites is the profound challenge of drying the nanomaterials ...

Wet Compounding of Cellulose Nanomaterials into Biodegradable Polymers

Year: 2019
Research at the USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory has shown that cellulose nanomaterials can improve the barrier properties of polymer films, and such improvements can lead to an increased shelf-life for food. But compounding cellulose nanomaterials into thermoplastic polymers presents ...

Flexible Magnetostrictive Nanocellulose Composites for Actuation, Sensing, and Energy Harvesting Applications

Year: 2020
Cellulose nanofibril films embedded with magnetostrictive particles were shown to predictably bend under a magnetic field and to change their magnetic properties under stress, making these composites potential candidates as actuators, sensors, and energy harvesting applications.

Integrating the Production of Nanofibrillated Cellulose and Biofuels

Year: 2011
FPL researchers have demonstrated a method of integrating the production of cellulose nanofibers and biofuels. Such a strategy is expected to improve the economics and reduce the financial risks associated with producing nanocellulose and biofuels from forest-based materials.

Short Cellulose Nanofibrils Reinforce Aligned Polyvinyl Alcohol Fibers

Year: 2014
Cellulose nanomaterials have recently gained much attention for their potential use for reinforcing polymers and for use in functional materials. Forest Service researchers developed procedures for creating short cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs) that are similar in shape and morphology to cellulose nano...

Cellulose Nanofiber Composites Can Serve as Substrate for Flexible Electronics

Year: 2012
Transparent films made from cellulose nanofibers have low thermal expansion and the potential to serve as a foundation for flexible electronics.

Improved Composites from Wood Flour and Mixed Plastics

Year: 2010
In a cooperative project with Louisiana State University, Forest Products Laboratory researchers have used crosslinking technologies, commonly used in the cable coating industry, to optimize the performance of composites of mixed plastics and wood flour.