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Nanocellulose Processing Properties and Potential Applications

Dufresne, Alain
Current forestry reports 2019 v.5 no.2 pp. 76-89
acid hydrolysis, biopolymers, cellulose, cellulosic fibers, forestry, industrial applications, markets, nanocomposites, nanofibers, wood
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The potential of nanotechnology and nanocomposites in various sectors of research and application is promising and attracting increasing investment. The purpose of this paper is to provide a review of the preparation of nanomaterials from different cellulosic sources including wood. The transformation of cellulose down to the nanoscale endow these nanomaterials with new properties that give cellulose many new industrial applications in different fields, and an overview of the sound markets that can be impacted by cellulose nanomaterials is provided. RECENT FINDINGS: Unexpected and attractive properties can be observed when decreasing the size of a material down to the nanoscale. Cellulose is no exception to the rule. Cellulose nanomaterials exhibit specific outstanding properties and are potentially useful for a large number of industrial applications. Now, after intensive research, several initiatives have emerged in the perspective of producing cellulose nanomaterials at large scale. A number of organizations have announced cellulose nanomaterial demonstration plants. Despite being the most available natural polymer on earth, it is only quite recently that cellulose has gained prominence as a nanostructured material. Different forms of cellulose nanomaterials, resulting from a top-down deconstructing strategy (cellulose nanocrystals-CNCs, cellulose nanofibrils-CNFs) or bottom-up strategy (bacterial cellulose-BC) can be prepared. Multiple mechanical shearing actions applied to cellulosic fibers release more or less individually the nanofibrils. A controlled strong acid hydrolysis treatment can be applied to cellulosic fibers allowing dissolution of amorphous domains. The mechanical modulus of crystalline cellulose is the basis of many potential applications.