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A "Smart Sponge" Soaks Up Pollutants

Photo of Cellulose nanofibril smart sponge absorbs oil which is floating on the top of water. Bryce Richter, University of WisconsinCellulose nanofibril smart sponge absorbs oil which is floating on the top of water. Bryce Richter, University of WisconsinSnapshot : This "smart sponge" is one of a number of applications under development for the tiny wood fibers known as cellulose nanofibrils (CNF). The fibers possess a number of unique properties including renewability, high surface areas, high aspect ratios, and excellent mechanical properties. CNF-based superabsorbent aerogels exhibit ultralow density, high porosity, high specific surface area, high flexibility, and low thermal conductivity.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Cai, Zhiyong 
Research Location : Forest Products Laboratory
Research Station : Forest Products Laboratory (FPL)
Year : 2014
Highlight ID : 579

Summary

Aerogels have received considerable interest in recent years because they can be used for a broad range of applications, including thermal and acoustic insulation, energy storage, catalyst support, and sensing. Forest Service researchers recently developed a series of cellulose nanofibril (CNF)-based organic aerogels using an environmentally friendly freeze drying process. Preliminary studies fully demonstrate that rationally engineered CNF-based aerogels can be used for a number of applications including as superabsorbents, thermal insulation, polymer nanocomposites, and supercapacitors.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Shaoqin Gong and Qifeng Zheng, University of Wisconsin, Madison

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