29 Jan 2014
World innovation news
Materials & Manufacturing
New Class of Biomaterials: Cellulose Nanocrystals
Header picture and the two other pictures included in this article are from Purdue University image, Pablo Zavattieri site.
Cellulose nanocrystals appear to be a milestone in a new class of biomaterials that might offer a large variety of diverse applications due to their high strength and stiffness comparable to steel. A research group from Purdue University with Pablo Zavattieri, assistant professor of civil engineering, have proceeded to calculations based on the atomic structure of cellulose to characterize its mechanical potential.
The study is an important step in a modeling approach development of the mechanical behaviour understanding and prediction of these nanocrystals. The technique used by Zavattieri research group is based on quantum mechanics that enable them to measure the properties of such crystals too small for measurements with regular laboratory equipment. The cellulose nanocrystals strongly produced by the pulp and paper industry are abundant, renewable, recyclable and biodegradable material.
The unique properties of the cellulose nanocrystals and the modeling possibilities of their interaction with other components open the field for the design and manufacturing of new materials. Already, companies and research groups are considering this bionanomaterial to manufacture a wide range of enhanced products from reinforced polymers and advanced composite materials to electronics devices, textiles, water purification filters, computer memories, and structural components for civil and aerospace industries, among others.
The pulp and paper industry is already on its marks to extend their activities in biomaterials manufacturing, as shown by a new Quebec based company, CelluForceTM, specialised in the development of NanoCrystalline Cellulose (NCCTM).
NanoCrystalline Cellulose (NCCTM) potential in biomanufacturing, as proposed by CelluForceTM.