Skip to main content

Mark C. Thies, Ph.D., P.E.

Mark C. ThiesDow Chemical Professor, P.E.
Separations, Thermodynamics, and Supercritical Fluids

Phone: 864-656-5424
Office: 210 Earle Hall

mark thies with studentsEducation

Ph.D., University of Delaware, 1985
B.S., Georgia Tech, 1977

Research Interests

Creating Value from Renewable and Refinable Polymers

Our efforts are focused on sustainable energy and materials research where thermodynamics, phase equilibria, and separations play a key role. Poorly defined systems with unexploited potential are of particular interest. Lignin is one example of such a system. After cellulose, lignin is the most abundant organic compound on earth and is the only renewable biopolymer with aromaticity. But today, lignin is essentially just a waste stream. Thus, the recovery, fractionation, and modification of lignin for materials applications is a focus of current research, with applications in carbon fibers, hydrogels, and polyurethane foams being explored. Another system with unexploited potential is polycyclic aromatic oligomers, which can be synthesized from inexpensive, carbon-rich monomers. These carbonaceous materials can exhibit fascinating properties, such as low melting points and liquid crystallinity. Applications in advanced-carbon applications are being explored.

Selected Publications

Books and Monographs

Thies, M. C.; Klett, A. S. Recovery of Low-ash and Ultrapure Lignins from Alkaline By-Product Streams. In Production of Biofuels and Chemicals from Lignin, Chapter 3; Fang, Z.; Smith, R. L. Jr., Eds.; Springer Singapore, 2016.

Thies, M. C. Fractionation and Characterization of Carbonaceous Pitch Oligomers: Understanding the Building Blocks for Carbon Materials. In Polymer Precursor-Derived Carbon; Naskar, A. K.; Hoffman, W. P., Eds.; ACS Symposium Series 1173, ACS Books: Washington, DC., 2014.

Referred Publications (last 5 years)

Temples, S. C.; Gathmann, S. R.; Ding. J.; Thies, M. C. Liquid–Liquid Equilibrium Compositions and Global Phase Behavior for Lignin–Acetone–Water Ternary at 25, 45, and 65 °C. Ind. Eng Chem. Res., in press, 2019.

Lamie, W. C.; Bruce, D. A.; Hoffman, W. P.; Thies, M. C. Maximizing the Formation of Low-Melting, Mesogenic Oligomers from the Catalytic Polymerization of Pyrene, Carbon 2019, 155, 483-490.

Chakraborty, S.; Ding, J.; Thies, M. C.; Kitchens, C. L. More Elongated Solution Structures in Lignin Precursors Improve Properties of Resultant Carbon Fibers. ACS Appl. Polym. Mater. 2019, 1, 2561-2565.

Jing, J.; Ding. J.; Klett, A. S.; Thies, M. C.; Ogale, A. A. Carbon Fibers Derived from Fractionated–Solvated Lignin Precursors for Enhanced Mechanical Performance. ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2018, 6, 14135−14142.

Xiao, R.; Yang, X.; Li, M.; Li, X.; Wei, Y.; Cao, M.; Ragauskas, A. J.; Thies, M.; Ding. J.; Zheng, Y. Investigation of composition, structure, and bioactivity of extracellular polymeric substances from original and stress-induced strains of Thraustochytrium striatum. Carbohydrate Polymers 2018, 195, 515-524.

Lamie, W. C.; Bruce, D. A.; Hoffman, W. P.; Thies, M. C. Kinetics of the catalytic polymerization of pyrene with AlCl3. Carbon 2018, 134, 1-8.

Li, X.; Li, M.; Pu, Y. Q.; Ragauskas, A. J.; Klett, A. S.; Thies, M. C.; Zheng, Y. Inhibitory Effects of Lignin on Enzymatic Hydrolysis: The Role of Lignin Chemistry and Molecular Weight. Renewable Energy 2018, 123, 664-674.

Shuai, L.; Sitison, J.; Sadula, S.; Ding, J.; Thies, M. C.; Saha, B. Selective C-C bond cleavage of methylene-linked lignin models and Kraft lignin. ACS Catalysis 2018, 8, 6507-6512.

Ding, J.-H.; Klett, A. S.; Gamble, J. A.; Tindall, G. W.; Thies, M. C. Liquid–liquid equilibrium compositions and global phase behavior for the lignin–acetic acid–water system at 70 and 95 °C. Fluid Phase Equilibr. 2018, 461, 8-14.

Phongpreecha, T.; Hool, N. C.; Stoklosa, R. J.; Klett, A. S.; Foster, C. E.; Bhalla, A.; Holmes, D.; Thies, M. C.; Hodge, D. A. Predicting Lignin Depolymerization Yields from Quantifiable Properties Using Fractionated Biorefinery Lignins. Green Chem. 2017, 19, 5131-5143.

Klett, A. S.; Payne, A. M.; Phongpreecha, T.; Hodge, D. A.; Thies, M. C. Benign Fractionation of Lignin with CO2-Expanded Solvents of Acetic Acid + Water. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2017, 56 (34), 9778-9782.

Thies, M. C.; Klett, A. S. Recovery of Low-ash and Ultrapure Lignins from Alkaline By-Product Streams. In Production of Biofuels and Chemicals from Lignin, Chapter 3; Fang, Z.; Smith, R. L. Jr., Eds.; Springer Singapore, 2016.

Klett, A. S.; Payne, A. M.; Thies, M. C. Continuous-Flow Process for the Purification and Fractionation of Alkali and Organosolv Lignins. ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., 2016, 4, 6689-6694.

Songtipya, L.; Thies, M. C.; Sane, A. Effect of rapid expansion of subcritical solutions processing conditions on loading capacity of tetrahydrocurcumin encapsulated in poly(L-lactide) particles. J. Supercrit. Fluids 2016, 113, 119-127.

Klett, A. S.; Gamble, J. A.; Thies, M. C.; Roberts, M. E. Identifying thermal phase transitions of lignin–solvent mixtures using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. Green Chem. 2016, 18, 1892-1897.

Richards, J. R.; Velez, J. G.; Songtipya, L.; Sane, A.; Thies, M. C. Fluid-phase behavior of the guaiacol+CO2 system at high pressures. J. Supercrit. Fluids 2016, 109, 95-99.

Velez, J.; Thies, M. C. Liquid Lignin from the SLRPTM Process: the Effect of Processing Conditions and Black-Liquor Properties. J. Wood Chem. Technol. 2016, 36, 27-41.

Klett, A. S.; Chappell, P. V.; Thies, M. C. Recovering ultraclean lignins of controlled molecular weight from Kraft black-liquor lignins. Chem. Comm. 2015, 51, 12855-12858.

Velez, J.; Thies, M. C. Temperature Effects on the Molecular Properties of Liquid Lignin Recovered from Kraft Black Liquor. ACS Sustain. Chem. Eng. 2015, 3, 1032-1038.

Leguizamon, S.; Diaz–Orellana, K. P.; Velez, J.; Thies, M. C.; Roberts, M. E. High charge capacity polymer electrodes comprising alkali lignin from the Kraft process. J. Mater. Chem. A 2015, 3, 11330-11339.