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Individual Highlight

Scale-up of cellulose nano material production

Photo of Snapshot : There is considerable research internationally on cellulose nano-materials as reinforcement fibers for high strength composites. A persistent problem has been unavailability of cellulose nano-crystals (CNC) and nano-fibrillated cellulose (NFC), the raw material needed for this research. FPL collaborators at NIST, DOD, and Purdue University were all challenged in obtaining material as the scale of need increased. Scientists at FPL have begun producing CNC and NFC to support these projects.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Rudie, Alan W.Moon, Robert J.
Research Station : Forest Products Laboratory (FPL)
Year : 2010
Highlight ID : 175


Cellulose nano-crystals (CNCs) are produced by dissolving chemical grade wood pulp using sulfuric acid, separating the acid resistant crystals from the acid in a centrifuge, and removing the residual acid by dialysis. The CNCs produced at FPL are uniform 4 nm diameter rods, 150 nm long. Production scale is limited by the size of the equipment with ten reactions combined to provide the 1 kg final product. NFCs are produced by several different methods, but the strongest material is made by selective oxidation of the glucose molecules making up the cellulose chains. After oxidation, the wood cell wall can be disintegrated into uniform 20 nm diameter fibrils ranging up to two microns in length Reaction scale is limited by the size of the equipment, with six separate oxidations combined to provide the 600 grams of final product.

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