||Cellulose is the main load bearing building block in plant cell walls. It has primarily been used in the form of chemical pulp fibers for paper and board applications, although cellulose fibers are also the key component or precursor to cotton textiles and Rayon or Viscose fibers. Recently, industrially feasible processes have been introduced for disintegration of cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) from the plant cell wall. The CNF fibrils has been used to prepare nanopaper, aerogels, hydrogels, polymer matrix biocomposites, inorganic hybrids and many other types of materials.
Compared with other nanofibrils, such as carbon nanotubes, CNF is comparably cheap, from renewable resource, and it can be readily functionalized on the surface. It is conveniently processed in the form of a colloidal suspension, and can be combined with other constituents to form complex multifunctional materials. In particular, CNF has favorable mechanical properties, and this can be used in multifunctional materials, which combine structural and functional performance.
Research related to CNF is carried out in many areas, including structure-property relationships, colloidal behavior, materials preparation studies, topochemical modification and many other areas. Possibly, CNF could be used in large-scale nanotechnology applications including packaging materials, semi-structural biocomposites, textile fibers, fire-retardant materials (combined with clay), building materials (transparent panels), but also high-technology applications. They include solar cells, flexible electronics, paper diagnostics, loudspeaker membranes, filters, water purification, and many other areas such as biomedical applications.
The presentation includes preparation methods and structure-property relationships, including interface studies involving molecular dynamics simulations. In particular, the potential of water-based processing is emphasized.