Nano Cellulose can be used in a number of applications to improve products
strength, barrier performance, weight etc
Nanocellulose is a polysaccharide molecule with bonds from the hydroxyl groups within the molecule which provide, in the company of hemicellulose and lignin, for the formation of nanofibrils which in turn bond to form larger fibrils which also coalesce to form cellulose fibres, in the form of a sheet of kraft paper. The nanocellulose fibril or crystal possesses unique properties, much different from its parent the cellulose fibre. Exploiting these properties has become the ultimate goal of our endeavours.
A mat of fibrils of nanocellulose material of one (1) millimeter (mm) thickness and of density 1.6 has a tensile strength twice that of stainless steel and a puncture resistance twice that of a Kevlar vest. It is edible and can therefore be used as a rheology modifier in food emulsions and as an expedient in pharmaceutical pill manufacture in the pill compression stage. It shows potential for use in bio-medical tissue engineering applications as a web implant.
It can provide significant strength improvement as an additive in plastic mouldings in a wide range of applications e.g. in a composite with Nylon 6 nanofibrils can achieve much higher performance as an under-hood lining of motor vehicles. It can be used for aircraft and automobile body cladding with massive weight savings , as well as for a wide range of auto interior accessories.
Again, as an additive, it accelerates the curing of cement and concrete and enhances their structural flexural strength. It has a myriad of other potential uses as an additive in plastics and as a single web of fibrils or crystal. There are established claim of its gas barrier properties as both a web and in a composite plastic plus as a barrier coating on plastic, paper and paperboard.
Further to its healthy properties of no toxicity, it is biodegradable & recyclable.
(See more under specific applications)
Its chemical formula is (C6H10O5)n, with n being the number of repeat units.
Copyright 2011, Royal Society of Chemistry.