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

Mark C. ThiesDow Chemical Professor, P.E.
Separations, Thermodynamics, and Supercritical Fluids
Phone: 864-656-5424
Office: 221 Earle Hall

mark thies with studentsEducation

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

Research Interests

Separations, Thermodynamics, and Supercritical Fluids

The Thies Research Group focuses on chemical and biomolecular separations where thermodynamics and phase equilibria play a key role. The fractionation and molecular characterization of poorly defined systems with significant potential applications in energy and materials are of particular interest. An example of such a system is lignin. After cellulose, lignin is the 2nd most abundant organic compound on earth; furthermore, it is one of the few biopolymers with aromaticity. Nevertheless, lignin is typically considered to be a by-product at best and a waste stream at worst. Thus, the recovery, fractionation, and purification of lignin is a focus of current research. Applications for lignin ranging from clean-burning biofuels to energy-storage polymers to carbon-fiber precursors are being investigated.

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.

Refereed Publications

Klett, A. S.; Payne, A. M.; Thies, M. C. A Continuous-Flow Process for the Production of Ultrapure Lignin. ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., submitted for publication, 2016.

Klett, A. S.; Payne, A. M.; Phongpreeecha, T.; Hodge, D. A.; Thies, M. C. Fractionation of Alkali Lignins with Aqueous Acetic Acid and Supercritical Carbon Dioxide. J. Supercrit. Fluids, submitted for publication, 2016.

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.

Esguerra, D. F.; Hoffman, W. P.; Thies, M. C. Liquid Crystallinity in Trimer Oligomers Isolated from Petroleum and Pyrene Pitches. Carbon 2014, 79, 265-273.

Esguerra, D. F.; Hoffman, W. P.; Thies, M. C. Molecular Structures of the Constituents of Pyrene Pitches. Fuel 2014, 124, 133-140.

Velez, J.; Thies, M. C. Solvated liquid-lignin fractions from a Kraft black liquor. Bioresour. Technol. 2013, 148, 586-590.

Stoklosa, R. J.; Velez, J.; Kelkar, S.; Saffron, C. M.; Thies, M. C.; Hodge, D. B. Correlating lignin structural features to phase partitioning behavior in a novel aqueous fractionation of softwood Kraft black liquor. Green Chem. 2013, 15, 2904-2912.

Esguerra, D. F.; Hoffman, W. P.; Thies, M. C. Fractionation of an oligomeric pyrene pitch via supercritical extraction. J. Supercrit. Fluids 2013, 79, 170-176.

Kulkarni, S. U.; Hoffman, W. P.; Thies, M. C. The molecular structures comprising catalytically polymerized pyrene pitch. Carbon 2013, 59, 33-39.

Tekinalp, H. L.; Cervo, E. G.; Fathollahi, B.; Thies, M. C.  The Effect of Molecular Composition and Structure on the Development of Porosity in Pitch-Based Activated Carbon Fibers, Carbon, 2013, 52, 267-277.

Klett, A. S.; Mena, S. E.; Bruce, D. A.; Thies, M. C. Liquid–Liquid Equilibrium Tie-Line Compositions at Elevated Temperatures and Pressures for the I2–H2O and HI–I2–H2O Systems of the Sulfur-Iodine Cycle, Int. J. Hydrogen Energy 2012, 37, 15020-15028.

Tapriyal, D.; Fan, X.; Heintz, Y.; Morsi, B.; Beckman, E.; Enick, R.; Sane, A.; Thies, M.; Schutte, G.; Niederst, J. Micronization of Polyethylene Terephthalate via Freezing of Highly Sheared Emulsions of Polyethylene Terephthalate in Saturated Liquid Tetrahydrofuran. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2012, 125, 4034-4040.

Kulkarni, S. U.; Thies, M. C. Quantitative analysis of polydisperse systems via solvent-freematrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 2012, 26, 392-398.

Cervo, E. G.; Kulkarni, S. U.; Thies, M. C. Isolating Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) Oligomers via Continuous, Two-Column Supercritical Extraction. J. Supercrit. Fluids 2012, 66, 120-128.

Kulkarni, S. U.; Esguerra, D. F.; Thies, M. C. Isolating Petroleum Pitch Oligomers via Semicontinuous Supercritical Extraction. Energy Fuels 2012, 26, 2721-2726.

Kulkarni, S. U.; Räder, H. J.; Thies, M. C. The effects of molecular weight distribution and sample preparation on MALDI mass spectrometry analysis of petroleum macromolecules. Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 2011, 25, 2799-2808.

Burgess, W. A.; Thies, M. C. Molecular Structures for the Oligomeric Constituents of Petroleum Pitch. Carbon 2011, 49, 636-651.

Burgess, W. A.; Pittman, J. J.; Markus, R. K.; Thies, M.C. Structural Identification of the Monomeric Constituents of Petroleum Pitch. Energy Fuels 2010, 24, 4301-4311. 

Mena, S. E.; Cervo, E. G.; Crosthwaite, J. M.; Thies, M. C. Phase equilibrium measurements for the I2-H2O and I2-HI-H2O systems of the sulfur-iodine cycle using a continuous-flow apparatus. Int. J. Hydrogen Energy 2010, 35, 3347-3357.

Cervo, E. G.; Thies, M. C. Control of molecular weight distribution of petroleum pitches via multistage supercritical extraction. J. Supercrit. Fluids 2010, 51, 345-352.

Wang, Y.; Hong, L.; Tapriyal, D.; Kim, I.-C.; Paik, I.H.; Crosthwaite, J. M.; Hamilton, A. D.; Thies, M. C.; Beckman, E. J.; Enick, R. M.; Johnson, J. K. Design and Evaluation of Nonfluorous CO2-Soluble Oligomers and Polymers. J. Phys. Chem. B 2009, 113, 14971-14980.

Cristadoro, A.; Kulkarni, S. U.; Burgess, W. A.; Cervo, E. G.; Räder, H. J.; Müllen, K.; Bruce, D. A.; Thies, M. C. Structural characterization of the oligomeric constituents of petroleum pitches. Carbon 2009, 47, 2358-2370.

Tapriyal, D.; Wang, Y.; Enick, R. M.; Johnson, J. K.; Crosthwaite, J.; Thies, M. C.; Paik, I. H.; Hamilton, A. D. Poly(vinyl acetate), poly((1-O-(vinyloxy) ethyl-2,3,4,6-tetra-O-acetyl-beta-D-glucopyranoside) and amorphous poly (lactic acid) are the most CO2-soluble oxygenated hydrocarbon-based polymers. J. Supercrit. Fluids 2008, 46, 252-257.

Wu, X.; Gallego, N. C.; Contescu, C. I.; Tekinalp, H.; Bhat, V. V; Baker, F. S.; Thies, M. C.; Edie, D. D. The effect of processing conditions on microstructure of Pd-containing activated carbon fibers. Carbon 2008, 46, 54-61.

Burgess, W. A.; Zhuang, M. S.; Hu, Y., Hurt, R. H.; Thies, M. C. SAFT–LC: An Equation of State for Predicting Liquid Crystalline Phase Behavior in Carbonaceous Pitches. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2007, 46, 7018-7026.

Sane, A.; Thies, M. C. Effect of Material Properties and Processing Conditions on RESS of Poly(L-lactide). J. Supercrit. Fluids 2007, 44, 134-143.

Brunner, E.; Thies, M. C.; Schneider, G. M. Fluid mixtures at high pressures: phase behavior and critical phenomena for binary mixtures of water with aromatic hydrocarbons. J. Supercrit. Fluids 2006, 39, 160-173.