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Department of Forest Biomaterials

Sustainable, renewable forest biomaterials such as wood, paper and value-added biomaterials are produced by large and small industries across North Carolina, and throughout the US. These renewable biomaterials are used for construction of sustainable housing, low carbon bioenergy, recyclable pulp and paper products, and value-added chemicals and composites. The future is bright for students with a blend of engineering, materials science, and practical business skills that are highly valued by employers.

The Department of Forest Biomaterials offers two curricula leading to Bachelor of Science degrees - Paper Science and Engineering, and Sustainable Materials and Technology. Both curricula feature small classes, extensive interactions between faculty and students, opportunities for internships, co-ops and undergraduate research, and stress the professional development of all students. Graduates are exceptionally well prepared for rewarding professional careers with large or small companies in the renewable biomaterials industries, suppliers to the industry, or with government agencies.

Sustainable Materials and Technology

Perry N. Peralta, Director of Undergraduate Programs

The Sustainable Materials & Technology degree prepares students for 21st century jobs helping businesses and communities reduce their ecological footprint through efficient use of renewable natural materials, such as wood, bamboo and cork, in the manufacture and use of value-added products. You'll gain a strong foundation in environmental science, economics, social sciences, and materials science which prepares you to design, manufacture and sell sustainable bio-based products. This degree is for students interested in a career in a growing field with job flexibility, high placement rates, great starting salaries, a tradition of success and an unlimited future.

Specific curriculum requirements are available online.

Summer Internship

Graduates of the Sustainable Materials and Technology program enter the real world with hands-on experience gained through internships, lab experiments, and practical coursework. More than one half of students participate in paid undergraduate research and work study opportunities. In addition, students are required to complete a paid summer internship or a semester co-op with a company in the industry. There are many other summer employment opportunities that are available to you beyond the required internship.


Graduates of the Sustainable Materials and Technology curriculum have many and varied job opportunities upon graduation with most receiving more than one job offer. Graduates enter the industry as management trainees, sales trainees, process engineers, quality assurance specialist, research & development associates and many others.

Minor in Sustainable Materials & Technology

The Department of Forest Biomaterials (FB) offers a minor in Sustainable Materials and Technology (SMT) to all undergraduates enrolled in the University as degree candidates except those in FB. The minor will provide students with a basic understanding of sustainability as applied to materials (e.g., wood, agricultural products, etc.) and the manufacturing processes that are used to convert them into a multitude of different products. 


A minimum of 15 hours is required for completion of the minor, and the minor should be completed no later than the semester in which the student expects to graduate from his/her degree program. Three (3) courses are required as indicated below; other courses are elective. An overall GPA of 2.0 in the minor coursework must be achieved.

Required Courses (8 semester hours)
SMT 201Sustainable Materials for Green Housing2
SMT 310Introduction to Industrial Ecology3
PSE 476Environmental Life Cycle Analysis3
Elective Courses (a minimum of 7 semester hours is required)
SMT 232Recycling to Create a Sustainable Environment2
ET 203Pollution Prevention1
ET 303Laboratory Safety Systems and Management1
ET 410Toxic Substances and Society3
FOR 248Forest History, Technology and Society3
PSE 425Bioenergy & Biomaterials Engineering3
PRT 250Management of Park and Recreation Facilities3
PRT 451Principles of Recreation Planning and Facility Development3

Admission and Certification of Minor

In both instances, students should contact the minor advisor, Dr. Perry Peralta.  Paperwork for certification can be found in 1022 Biltmore Hall and should be completed no later than the registration period for the student's final semester at NC State.

Curricula in Paper Science and Engineering

M. V. Byrd, Director of Undergraduate Programs

The Paper Science and Engineering curriculum prepares students for careers in the paper industry, which ranks as the fifth-largest manufacturing industry in the United States. Science, engineering, and mathematics form the basis for a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the fundamental aspects of materials science and engineering of these complex renewable materials. Students study the technology and engineering of wood pulping processes, chemical and energy recovery systems, and pulp bleaching. In addition, various papermaking operations, such as refining, sizing, coating, and drying are studied. These topics, along with the chemical and biological modification of wood, papermaking, and the physics of paper based materials form a fundamental set of core courses that all students in the curriculum take.

Two concentrations are available emphasizing the different engineering aspects of pulping and paper making. The Paper Science and Engineering concentration provides an extensive background in the pulp and paper manufacturing processes and elective credit hours for studies in chemistry, marketing, economics, management or other areas of interest to the student. Greater depth in general chemical engineering principles can be obtained from the Chemical Engineering Concentration. Students who have completed the Chemical Engineering Concentration in Paper Science and Engineering can, in cooperation with the College of Engineering and with an additional semester of study, earn a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering as a second degree.

The curriculum requirements for the degree in Paper Science and Engineering may be found online.

Program Educational Objectives

Within a few years after graduation, alumni of the Paper Science & Engineering Program at NC State University will be:

  • Effective engineers and leaders in the paper, chemical process, and related industries.
  • Professionals who act in a safe and ethical manner.
  • Lifelong learners who pursue opportunities to continue their education.


Graduates of this curriculum find opportunities for challenging careers as process engineers, product development engineers, process control engineers, chemists, technical service engineers, quality control supervisors, and production supervisors. Design and construction engineering companies employ graduates as project engineers, and pulp and paper machinery/chemical companies use their education and skills for technical service and sales positions. Opportunities for managerial and executive positions are available to graduates as they gain experience.

The broad and intensive nature of this curriculum makes graduates attractive not only to the pulp and paper industry, but also to a variety of other major chemical process and bio-energy industries. This appeal is especially true for the dual degree in Paper Science & Engineering and Chemical Engineering.

Summer Internship

All Paper Science and Engineering majors are required to work one summer in a pulp or paper manufacturing facility. One hour of academic credit is granted after completion of 12 weeks of this work and presentation of an engineering report of professional quality. In addition, students are urged to work in manufacturing facilities the other two summers, as the work provides valuable practical experience. Departmental advisers assist students in locating summer jobs, which are found throughout the US and abroad.

Many Paper Science & Engineering students work at least one co-op rotation, in which they leave school for one semester and work in the industry. The resulting experience adds significantly to a student’s desirability upon graduation.

Accredited Program

The Paper Science and Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,

Regional Program

The Paper Science and Engineering curriculum is a regional program approved by the Southern Regional Education Board as the undergraduate program to serve the Southeast in this field.


Approximately 125 undergraduate academic scholarships worth approximately $300,000 are granted annually to new and continuing students by companies comprising the Pulp and Paper Foundation, and by alumni and supporters of the program.

Minor in Paper Science and Engineering

The Paper Science and Engineering Minor is available to all undergraduate students enrolled in the university as degree candidates except Paper Science and Engineering Majors. The minor requires 15 credit hours. Six hours of required courses provide a comprehensive overview of pulping and paper making science and technology, including pulping, bleaching, chemical recovery, recycled fibers, paper making, coating, printing, converting, and paper properties. Nine elective hours may be chosen from areas including wood chemistry, wet end chemistry, unit operations, process design and analysis, project management, and process control.

The course requirements for the PSE minor may be found online.

The Paper Science and Engineering Minor, with its focus on paper making science and technology, is intended to be especially valuable to students majoring in programs leading to careers in corporate or government positions which would interface with the paper and related industries. Students interested in business, scientific or engineering specialties which may interface with or are employed by these industries will find the minor especially useful.

Admissions and Certification of Minor

All undergraduate students enrolled in the university as a degree candidate, other than PSE majors, are eligible for admission to the PSE minor program. The PSE Minor Adviser will serve as adviser and certify completion of the minor. Paperwork for certification must be submitted to the minor adviser no later than the registration period for the student’s final semester at NC State.

The minor must be completed no later than the semester in which the student expects to graduate from his or her degree program.

Contact Person: Dr. Med Byrd, Minor Adviser, 2205 Biltmore Hall, (919) 515-5790.


M. Hakovirta

Director of Graduate Programs

I.S. Peszlen

Director of Undergraduate Programs, Paper Science and Engineering

M. V. Byrd

Director of Undergraduate Programs, Sustainable Materials and Technology

P. N. Peralta

Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor

M. Byrd

H. Jameel

Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor and Elis & Signe Olsson Professor

H. Jameel

Buckman Distinguished Scientist

M.A. Hubbe


D. Argyropoulos

V. Chiang

M. Hubbe

H. Jameel

S.S. Kelley

A.G. Kirkman

O.J. Rojas

D.C. Tilotta


Research Professor

R.L. Lemaster

Professor Emeriti

H.M. Chang

E.L. Ellwood

L.G. Jahn

J. Heitmann, Jr.

R.J. Thomas

E.A. Wheeler

Adjunct Professor

S. Banerjee

Jorge Colodette

B. Dellicolli

H. Gracz

R. Hise

J. Kadla

B. Kasal

David Knox

R.B. Phillips

J.J. Renard

Associate Professor

M.V. Byrd

S. Dasmophapatra

L.A. Lucia

P.H. Mitchell

L. Pal

S. Park

J.J. Pawlak

P.N. Peralta

I.S. Peszlen

D.E. Saloni

Adjunct Associate Professor

J. Bray

B. Brogden

B. Capanema

A.G. Raymond

J. Wright

Assistant Professor

R. Gonzales

E. McConnell

Executive in Residence

R. Phillips

PSE - Paper Science Engineering Courses

PSE 201 Pulping and Papermaking Technology 3.

Survey of the pulping and papermaking processes. Covers characteristics of wood and different types of fiber, key equipment and process variables for pulping, bleaching and chemical recovery processes, with emphasis on the kraft process. Papermaking variables and equipment, particularly on a Fourdrinier machine, secondary fiber processing, and aspects of printing and coverting discussed.

PSE 211 Pulp and Paper Internship 1.
Prerequisite: PSE 201.

Experience in the pulp and paper industry. Problem solving in an industrial setting to gain insight of pulp and paper technology. Written report required. Engineering ethics discussed in light of the work experience.

PSE 212 Paper Properties 4.
Prerequisite: PSE 201.

Measurement and characterization of the structural, mechanical, and optical properties of paper and board. Effect of raw materials and manufacturing processes on structure and properties. Basic concepts of paper physics.

PSE 220 From Papyrus to Plasma Screens: Paper and Society 2.

The impact of paper and paper products on society, examined from the broad interdisciplinary perspectives of technology/engineering and sociology/communication. How the written word and printing affected human development and history. How paper products affect people with regard to communication, education, commerce, and comfort/hygiene. The history and development of paper making and the paper industry. Important properties of paper. Basic types of paper products, how they are manufactured, and their impacts The environmental impacts of paper and the paper industry. Current issues involving the paper industry.

PSE 293 Independent Study in Paper Science & Engineering 1-6.

Independent Study for Paper Science & Engineering students at the freshman and sophomore level developed under the direction of a faculty member. Individualized/Independent Study and Research courses require a "Course Agreement for Students Enrolled in Non-Standard Courses" be completed by the student and faculty member prior to registration by the department.

PSE 294 Independent Study in Paper Science & Engineering 1-6.

Independent Study for Paper Science & Engineering students at the freshman and sophomore level developed under the direction of a faculty member. Individualized/Independent Study and Research courses require a "Course Agreement for Students Enrolled in Non-Standard Courses" be completed by the student and faculty member prior to registration by the department.

PSE 295 Special Topics in Paper Science & Engineering 1-3.

Special Topics in Paper Science & Engineering at the 200 level for offering courses on an experimental basis.

PSE 322 Wet End and Polymer Chemistry 4.
Prerequisite: PSE 212 and (CH 221 or CH 225) and (CH 222 or CH 226).

Prepares students to solve problems related to chemical usage on paper machines. Subjects include water chemistry, paper machine operations, fibers, fillers, alum, sizing agents, polyelectrolytes, colloidal interactions, strength agents, dyes, strategies to optimize retention, dewatering strategies, strategies to achieve more uniform paper, strategies to improve production rates, recycling acqueous coatings, and wet-end chemical process control.

PSE 332 Wood and Pulping Chemistry 3.
Prerequisite: CH 221/225 and CH 222/226 and CH 223/227 and CH 224/228.

Introduction to carbohydrate chemistry focusing on the structure and reactivity of wood polysaccharides, hemicelluloses and cellulose and on the chemical structure of lignins and wood extractives. Special emphasis on the chemical reaction of wood components occurring in pulping and bleaching processes.

PSE 335 Principles of Green Chemistry 4.
Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in CH 101/102, CH 201/202 (or equivalent general chemistry series), and CH 221/22 (or equivalent).

Introduction to the topic of green chemistry as an emerging field; Identification of hazards and classes; overview of sources; alternative solvents and reagents; sustainability of chemical reactions; alternative chemical reactions and pathways; alternative feedstocks; enzymatic catalysis; ionic liquids; re-engineering of chemical processes; chemical synthesis.

PSE 355 Pulp and Paper Unit Processes I 3.
Prerequisite: CHE 205.

Selected topics in chemical engineering as applied in the pulp and paper industry. Emphasis on computational practice.

PSE 360 Pulp and Paper Unit Processes II 3.
Prerequisite: PSE 201, PSE 355 or CHE 311.

Application of chemical engineering principles to the analysis of pulp and paper unit processes. Emphasis on practical problems in fluid dynamics, heat transfer, mass transfer and thermodynamics. Problem solution techniques include hand calculationand computer simulation tools.

PSE 371 Pulping Process Analysis 3.
Prerequisite: PSE 201.

Preparation and evaluation of different types of wood pulp. A new wood raw material is selected each year with the purpose of studying and critically evaluating the principal pulping and bleaching variables.

PSE 415 Paper Industry Strategic Project Analysis 3.

Design problems in process and project engineering are analyzed from strategic, economic, and business perspectives. Typical pulp and paper processes are computer modeled and analyzed with regard to feasibility and profitability. Specific capital projects are assessed for capital requirements, total installed cost, operating costs, payback, and cash flow. Traditional business concepts are presented, including: financial analysis; capital allocation; marketing and pricing theory; manufacturing work systems; management systems; leadership; what "good" looks like. Senior Standing.

PSE 416 Process Design and Analysis 3.
Prerequisite: PSE 415 and PSE 417.

Design, management and analysis of technical projects. Emphasis on concepts and techniques used in economic analysis of projects. Use of computer simulation for process design and cost analyses. Team projects to analyze cost and operating feasibility of proposed major mill modification. Written and oral presentations required throughout the semester.

PSE 417 Modeling & Simulation of Pulp & Paper Processes 3.
Prerequisite: PSE 360.

Application of modeling and simulation techniques for the analysis of pulping and papermaking processes. Model development and computer simulation using existing models will allow analysis of process interactions and operating/economic feasibility of process modifications of complex manufacturing systems.

PSE 425 Bioenergy & Biomaterials Engineering 3.
Prerequisite: For PSE Majors: (MAE 201 or CHE 316) and PSE 360; For CHE Majors: CHE 312 and CHE 316; For BAE Majors: MAE 201 and BAE 402.

This course acquaints students with the basic science, terminology, technology, economic concepts, and engineering concepts associated with the conversion of biomass into energy and materials. Topics include: biomass types and properties; biochemical platforms; thermochemical platforms; unit operations; the biorefinery; biocomposites. Some design content is included. Targeted to engineering students with a suitable background (PSE, CHE, BAE).

PSE 472 Paper Process Analysis 3.
Prerequisite: PSE 212, PSE 322, PSE 371.

Product analysis, materials selection, process planning, manufacture of various types of paper using pilot plant equipment, finished product testing and comparison with standard products. Machine unit operations, materials flow balances, energy balances performed on operations. Team assignments with written and oral presentation of results.

PSE 475 Process Control in Pulp and Paper 3.
Prerequisite: Senior standing in PSE.

Overview of the various aspects of control including process modeling, design of control loops and stability analysis in pulp and paper. Emphasis on distributed digital control (DDC), including hands-on programming and control loop development on aDDC computer.

PSE 476 Environmental Life Cycle Analysis 3.

Overview of the various aspects of conducting and interpreting an environmental life cycle analysis on a product or service. Students will learn how to construct a life cycle analysis goal and scope, inventory, assessment and interpretation. Skills in the critique and communication of a life cycle analysis will be developed. Includes an overview of the following life cycle stages: raw materials, energy, transportation, production, use, and end of life. Emphasis on systems thinking. Targeted for students in any science or engineering program. Credit not allowed for both PSE 476 and WPS 576.

PSE 493 Independent Study in Paper Science & Engineering 1-6.

Independent Study for Paper Science & Engineering students at the advanced level developed under the direction of a faculty member. Individualized/Independent Study and Research courses require a "Course Agreement for Students Enrolled in Non-Standard Courses" be completed by the student and faculty member prior to registration by the department.

PSE 494 Independent Study in Paper Science & Engineering 1-6.

Independent Study for Paper Science & Engineering students at the advanced level developed under the direction of a faculty member. Individualized/Independent Study and Research courses require a "Course Agreement for Students Enrolled in Non-Standard Courses" be completed by the student and faculty member prior to registration by the department.