Owing to the hierarchical structure of cellulose, nanoparticles can be extracted from this naturally occurring polymer. Multiple mechanical shearing actions allow the release of more or fewer individual microfibrils. Longitudinal cutting of these microfibrils can be achieved by a strong acid hydrolysis treatment, allowing dissolution of amorphous domains. The impressive mechanical properties, reinforcing capabilities, abundance, low density, and biodegradability of these nanoparticles make them ideal candidates for the processing of polymer nanocomposites. With a Young's modulus in the range 100–130GPa and a surface area of several hundred m2g-1, new promising properties can be considered for cellulose.

Read full text on ScienceDirect

DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2013.06.004