Ab Initio Study of Molecular Interactions in Cellulose Iα

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Devarajan, Ajitha
Markutsya, Sergiy
Cheng, Xiaolin
Smith, Jeremy
Baluyut, John
Kholod, Yana
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Windus, Theresa
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Lamm, Monica
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Ames National Laboratory

Ames National Laboratory is a government-owned, contractor-operated national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), operated by and located on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

For more than 70 years, the Ames National Laboratory has successfully partnered with Iowa State University, and is unique among the 17 DOE laboratories in that it is physically located on the campus of a major research university. Many of the scientists and administrators at the Laboratory also hold faculty positions at the University and the Laboratory has access to both undergraduate and graduate student talent.

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Chemical and Biological Engineering

The function of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering has been to prepare students for the study and application of chemistry in industry. This focus has included preparation for employment in various industries as well as the development, design, and operation of equipment and processes within industry.Through the CBE Department, Iowa State University is nationally recognized for its initiatives in bioinformatics, biomaterials, bioproducts, metabolic/tissue engineering, multiphase computational fluid dynamics, advanced polymeric materials and nanostructured materials.

The Department of Chemical Engineering was founded in 1913 under the Department of Physics and Illuminating Engineering. From 1915 to 1931 it was jointly administered by the Divisions of Industrial Science and Engineering, and from 1931 onward it has been under the Division/College of Engineering. In 1928 it merged with Mining Engineering, and from 1973–1979 it merged with Nuclear Engineering. It became Chemical and Biological Engineering in 2005.

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  • Department of Chemical Engineering (1913–1928)
  • Department of Chemical and Mining Engineering (1928–1957)
  • Department of Chemical Engineering (1957–1973, 1979–2005)
    • Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (2005–present)

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The Department of Chemistry seeks to provide students with a foundation in the fundamentals and application of chemical theories and processes of the lab. Thus prepared they me pursue careers as teachers, industry supervisors, or research chemists in a variety of domains (governmental, academic, etc).

The Department of Chemistry was founded in 1880.

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Biomass recalcitrance, the resistance of cellulosic biomass to degradation, is due in part to the stability of the hydrogen bond network and stacking forces between the polysaccharide chains in cellulose microfibers. The fragment molecular orbital (FMO) method at the correlated Møller–Plesset second order perturbation level of theory was used on a model of the crystalline cellulose Iα core with a total of 144 glucose units. These computations show that the intersheet chain interactions are stronger than the intrasheet chain interactions for the crystalline structure, while they are more similar to each other for a relaxed structure. An FMO chain pair interaction energy decomposition analysis for both the crystal and relaxed structures reveals an intricate interplay between electrostatic, dispersion, charge transfer, and exchange repulsion effects. The role of the primary alcohol groups in stabilizing the interchain hydrogen bond network in the inner sheet of the crystal and relaxed structures of cellulose Iα, where edge effects are absent, was analyzed. The maximum attractive intrasheet interaction is observed for the GT-TG residue pair with one intrasheet hydrogen bond, suggesting that the relative orientation of the residues is as important as the hydrogen bond network in strengthening the interaction between the residues.


Reprinted (adapted) with permission from Journal of Physical Chemistry B 117 (2013): 10430, doi:10.1021/jp406266u.