Surface Engineering of Cellulose Nanocrystals for Sustainable Bioproduct Development

By learning from nature and using bio-based building blocks we can engineer sustainable high-performance materials with improved functionality. Nanocelluloses have entered the marketplace as new ingredients for formulated chemical products, composites and engineering processing technologies. Although cellulose is the most abundant natural substance on earth, nanocelluloses are anything but common – they possess exceptionally high mechanical strength and align in electromagnetic fields; they are more chemically, colloidally and thermally stable than most bio-based materials; they exhibit unique optical and self-assembly properties, all while retaining the non-toxicity and biodegradability of cellulose. My research group aims to bridge the gap between industrial nanocellulose producers, R&D, and potential end users by exploring fundamentals. In this talk, I will highlight my group’s contributions in the areas of: benchmarking commercial cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) and characterization method development; CNC-stabilized emulsions and latexes for applications in cosmetics, food, paints, coatings and adhesives; and CNC-templated energy storage and production devices. Overall, we believe that this improved understanding of CNCs and how to control their assembly is crucial for the commercialization of greener next-generation technologies.

Who Should Attend: 

  • Graduate Students
  •  R&D related to biopolymers and nanotechnology

Learning Outcomes: 

  • Describe the basic advantages of using cellulose nanocrystals in a range of applications
  • Select appropriate characterization tools and surface modification methods for cellulose nanocrystals

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