Nanocellulose: Recent Advances to Unlock Potential for Engineered Sustainable Materials

A special issue of Nanomaterials (ISSN 2079-4991). This special issue belongs to the section "Nanocomposite Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2024) | Viewed by 10690

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Interests: pulp and paper science; nanocellulose; water technology; fiber cement; recycling; sustainability
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
LEPAMAP Group, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Girona, 17071 Girona, Spain
Interests: nanocellulose; papermaking; natural fiber reinforced composites; nanocomposites; biomaterials
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
IMAM, UNaM, CONICET, FCEQYN, Programa de Celulosa y Papel (PROCyP), Félix de Azara 1552, 3300 Posadas, Argentina
Interests: composite materials; lignocellulosic fiber; fractionation of lignocellulosic materials; biorefinery; bioproducts
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nanocellulose is opening new horizons as a source of renewable nanostructures thanks to its wide availability and sustainability in myriad applications. The main scope of this special issue is to compile the most recent research on cutting-edge developments and uses of nanocellulose. The contribution will particularly focus on current scientific and technological progress in the production, characterization, and applications, including lab-scale studies and new developments in pilot and full industrial-scale applications. The special issue will contribute to the accelerating R&D and industrialization of nanocellulose. Researchers from universities, public/private R&D institutes, and industry, are invited to send their contributions.

Contributions to these areas are welcome:

  • New and state-of-the-art methods for characterization
  • Production methods
  • Improving the performance of nanocellulosic materials
  • Advances on the Use and Applications of nanocellulosic materials
  • Emerging fields on nanocellulosic materials
  • Other related topics

Prof. Dr. Carlos Negro
Dr. Marc Delgado-Aguilar
Prof. Dr. María Evangelina Vallejos
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • nanocellulose
  • cellulose nanofibers
  • cellulose nanocrystal
  • nano lignocellulose
  • cellulose microfibres

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

12 pages, 4149 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Cellulose Nanofibres on Dewatering during Wet-Forming and the Mechanical Properties of Thermoformed Specimens Made of Thermomechanical and Kraft Pulps
by Eirik Ulsaker Jacobsen, Simen Prang Følkner, Jørgen Blindheim, Dag Molteberg, Martin Steinert and Gary Chinga-Carrasco
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(18), 2511; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13182511 - 7 Sep 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1386
Abstract
Due to environmental concerns regarding single-use plastic materials, major efforts are being made to develop new material concepts based on biodegradable and renewable resources, e.g., wood pulp. In this study, we assessed two types of wood pulp fibres, i.e., thermomechanical pulp (TMP) and [...] Read more.
Due to environmental concerns regarding single-use plastic materials, major efforts are being made to develop new material concepts based on biodegradable and renewable resources, e.g., wood pulp. In this study, we assessed two types of wood pulp fibres, i.e., thermomechanical pulp (TMP) and Kraft pulp fibres, and tested the performance of the fibres in wet-moulding and thermopressing trials. Kraft pulp fibres appeared to retain more water than TMP, increasing the dewatering time during wet-moulding and apparently increasing the compression resistance of the pulp during thermoforming. Additionally, cellulose nanofibres (CNF) were added to the pulps, which improved the mechanical properties of the final thermopressed specimens. However, the addition of CNF to the pulps (from 2 to 6%) had a further decrease in the dewatering efficiency in the wet-moulding process, and this effect was more pronounced in the Kraft pulp specimens. The mechanical performance of the thermoformed specimens was in the same range as the plastic materials that are conventionally used in food packaging, i.e., modulus 0.6–1.2 GPa, strength 49 MPa and elongation 6–9%. Finally, this study demonstrates the potential of wood pulps to form three-dimensional thermoformed products. Full article
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15 pages, 3576 KiB  
Article
Flocculation of Cellulose Microfiber and Nanofiber Induced by Chitosan–Xylan Complexes
by Gabriela Adriana Bastida, Quim Tarrés, Roberto Aguado, Marc Delgado-Aguilar, Miguel Ángel Zanuttini and María Verónica Galván
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(17), 2420; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13172420 - 25 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1033
Abstract
This study aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the key factors influencing the rheological behavior and the mechanisms of natural polyelectrolyte complexes (PECs) as flocculation agents for cellulose microfibers (CMFs) and nanofibers (CNFs). PECs were formed by combining two polyelectrolytes: xylan (Xyl) [...] Read more.
This study aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the key factors influencing the rheological behavior and the mechanisms of natural polyelectrolyte complexes (PECs) as flocculation agents for cellulose microfibers (CMFs) and nanofibers (CNFs). PECs were formed by combining two polyelectrolytes: xylan (Xyl) and chitosan (Ch), at different Xyl/Ch mass ratios: 60/40, 70/30, and 80/20. First, Xyl, Ch, and PEC solutions were characterized by measuring viscosity, critical concentration (c*), rheological parameter, ζ-potential, and hydrodynamic size. Then, the flocculation mechanisms of CMF and CNF suspensions with PECs under dynamic conditions were studied by measuring viscosity, while the flocculation under static conditions was examined through gel point measurements, floc average size determination, and ζ-potential analysis. The findings reveal that PEC solutions formed with a lower xylan mass ratio showed higher intrinsic viscosity, higher hydrodynamic size, higher z-potential, and a lower c*. This is due to the high molecular weight, charge, and gel-forming ability. All the analyzed solutions behave as a typical non-Newtonian shear-thinning fluid. The flocculation mechanisms under dynamic conditions showed that a very low dosage of PEC (between 2 and 6 mg PEC/g of fiber) was sufficient to produce flocculation. Under dynamic conditions, an increase in viscosity indicates flocculation at this low PEC dosage. Finally, under static conditions, maximum floc sizes were observed at the same PEC dosage where minimum gel points were reached. Higher PEC doses were required for CNF suspensions than for CMF suspensions. Full article
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14 pages, 3082 KiB  
Article
Stabilization of Beeswax-In-Water Dispersions Using Anionic Cellulose Nanofibers and Their Application in Paper Coating
by Genís Bayés, Roberto J. Aguado, Quim Tarrés, Jaume Planella and Marc Delgado-Aguilar
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(16), 2353; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13162353 - 16 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1362
Abstract
Beeswax is a bio-sourced, renewable, and even edible material that stands as a convincing option to provide paper-based food packaging with moisture resistance. Nonetheless, the difficulty of dispersing it in water limits its applicability. This work uses oxidized, negatively charged cellulose nanofibers along [...] Read more.
Beeswax is a bio-sourced, renewable, and even edible material that stands as a convincing option to provide paper-based food packaging with moisture resistance. Nonetheless, the difficulty of dispersing it in water limits its applicability. This work uses oxidized, negatively charged cellulose nanofibers along with glycerol to stabilize beeswax-in-water emulsions above the melting point of the wax. The synergistic effects of nanocellulose and glycerol granted the stability of the dispersion even when it cooled down, but only if the concentration of nanofibers was high enough. This required concentration (0.6–0.9 wt%) depended on the degree of oxidation of the cellulose nanofibers. Rheological hindrance was essential to prevent the buoyancy of beeswax particles, while the presence of glycerol prevented excessive aggregation. The mixtures had yield stress and showed pseudoplastic behavior at a high enough shear rate, with their apparent viscosity being positively influenced by the surface charge density of the nanofibers. When applied to packaging paper, the nanocellulose-stabilized beeswax suspensions not only enhanced its barrier properties towards liquid water (reaching a contact angle of 96°) and water vapor (<100 g m−2 d−1), but also to grease (Kit rating: 5) and airflow (>1400 Gurley s). While falling short of polyethylene-coated paper, this overall improvement, attained using only one layer of a biobased coating suspension, should be understood as a step towards replacing synthetic waxes and plastic laminates. Full article
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19 pages, 11200 KiB  
Article
Synergies between Fibrillated Nanocellulose and Hot-Pressing of Papers Obtained from High-Yield Pulp
by Carlos Negro, Gunilla Pettersson, Amanda Mattsson, Staffan Nyström, Jose Luis Sanchez-Salvador, Angeles Blanco and Per Engstrand
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(13), 1931; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13131931 - 25 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1349
Abstract
To extend the application of cost-effective high-yield pulps in packaging, strength and barrier properties are improved by advanced-strength additives or by hot-pressing. The aim of this study is to assess the synergic effects between the two approaches by using nanocellulose as a bulk [...] Read more.
To extend the application of cost-effective high-yield pulps in packaging, strength and barrier properties are improved by advanced-strength additives or by hot-pressing. The aim of this study is to assess the synergic effects between the two approaches by using nanocellulose as a bulk additive, and by hot-pressing technology. Due to the synergic effect, dry strength increases by 118% while individual improvements are 31% by nanocellulose and 92% by hot-pressing. This effect is higher for mechanical fibrillated cellulose. After hot-pressing, all papers retain more than 22% of their dry strength. Hot-pressing greatly increases the paper’s ability to withstand compressive forces applied in short periods of time by 84%, with a further 30% increase due to the synergic effect of the fibrillated nanocellulose. Hot-pressing and the fibrillated cellulose greatly decrease air permeability (80% and 68%, respectively) for refining pretreated samples, due to the increased fiber flexibility, which increase up to 90% using the combined effect. The tear index increases with the addition of nanocellulose, but this effect is lost after hot-pressing. In general, fibrillation degree has a small effect which means that low- cost nanocellulose could be used in hot-pressed papers, providing products with a good strength and barrier capacity. Full article
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14 pages, 8454 KiB  
Article
Synergistic Toughening of Epoxy Composite with Cellulose Nanofiber and Continuous Pineapple Leaf Fiber as Sustainable Reinforcements
by Nichapa Klinthoopthamrong, Sombat Thanawan, Gautier Schrodj, Karine Mougin, Kheng-Lim Goh and Taweechai Amornsakchai
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(11), 1703; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13111703 - 23 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2589
Abstract
In this work, the effect of cellulose nanofiber (CNF) on the mechanical properties of long pineapple leaf fiber (PALF)-reinforced epoxy composites was investigated. The content of PALF was fixed at 20 wt.% and the CNF content was varied at 1, 3, and 5 [...] Read more.
In this work, the effect of cellulose nanofiber (CNF) on the mechanical properties of long pineapple leaf fiber (PALF)-reinforced epoxy composites was investigated. The content of PALF was fixed at 20 wt.% and the CNF content was varied at 1, 3, and 5 wt.% of the epoxy matrix. The composites were prepared by hand lay-up method. Comparison was conducted between CNF-, PALF- and CNF–PALF-reinforced composites. It was found that the introduction of these small amounts of CNF into epoxy resin caused very small effects on flexural modulus and strength of neat epoxy. However, impact strength of epoxy with 1 wt.% CNF increased to about 115% that of neat epoxy, and, as the content of CNF increased to 3 and 5 wt.%, the impact strength decreased to that of neat epoxy. Observation of the fractured surface under electron microscope revealed the change in failure mechanism from a smooth surface to a much rougher surface. For epoxy containing 20 wt.% PALF, both flexural modulus and strength increased significantly to about 300% and 240% that of neat epoxy. The composite impact strength increased to about 700% that of the neat epoxy. For hybrid systems containing both CNF and PALF, there were few changes observed in both flexural modulus and strength compared to the PALF epoxy system. However, much improvement in impact strength was obtained. By using epoxy containing 1 wt.% CNF as the matrix, the impact strength increased to about 220% that of 20 wt.% PALF epoxy or 1520% that of neat epoxy. It thus could be deduced that the spectacular improvement in impact strength was due to the synergistic effect of CNF and PALF. The failure mechanism leading to the improvement in impact strength will be discussed. Full article
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13 pages, 3055 KiB  
Article
Electrospinning Synthesis of Na0.5Bi0.5TiO3 Nanofibers for Dielectric Capacitors in Energy Storage Application
by Yuan Liu, Hang Luo, Zhe Gao, Haoran Xie, Ru Guo, Fan Wang, Xuefan Zhou, Jun Cao and Dou Zhang
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(6), 906; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12060906 - 9 Mar 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2256
Abstract
Dielectric composites based on ferroelectric ceramics nanofibers are attracting increasing attention in capacitor application. In this work, the sol–gel method and electrospinning technology are utilized to prepare one-dimensional Na0.5Bi0.5TiO3 (NBT) nanofibers, and the influence of electrospinning process parameters [...] Read more.
Dielectric composites based on ferroelectric ceramics nanofibers are attracting increasing attention in capacitor application. In this work, the sol–gel method and electrospinning technology are utilized to prepare one-dimensional Na0.5Bi0.5TiO3 (NBT) nanofibers, and the influence of electrospinning process parameters such as spinning voltage, liquid supply rate, and collector speed on the morphology and structure of nanofibers are systematically explored. The final optimized parameters include the applied voltage of 20 kV, the solution flow rate of 1 mL/h, and the collector’s rotation speed of 1500 rpm. The optimized NBT nanofibers are introduced into the PVDF polymer matrix for energy storage application. Owing to the enhanced interfacial polarization between PVDF matrix and NBT nanofibers with a high aspect ratio, the NBT–PVDF nanocomposites achieve a high discharge energy density of 14.59 J cm−3 and an energy efficiency of 53.69% at 490 kV mm−1, which are higher than those of pure PVDF, i.e., 10.26 J cm−3 and 48.17% at 420 kV mm−1, respectively. The results demonstrate that the strategy of synthesizing NBT nanofibers using the electrospinning method is of great potential for high-performance dielectric capacitor application. Full article
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