Home > Features >


Cellulose adapts to new roles

Date: 2017-03-30 17:53:47.0
Author: Jon Evans


Cellulose packaging

Cellulose packaging for keeping food
fresh, developed by researchers at KTU.


Cellulose has already shown itself to be a highly adaptable material, able to produce everything from textiles to super-strong paper to elastic foam. But it turns out that a little bit of modification could help cellulose adapt to a whole range of new roles.

One of the main reasons why cellulose is so adaptable is because it is made up of microfibrils, each around 5–10nm wide. These possess impressive strength and toughness, and can be processed in a variety of different ways to produce many different materials. For example, they can be spun into strong yarn for clothing (see Wood: looking good and sounding good) or freeze-dried into an elastic foam that makes an effective battery material.

Until recently, a major hurdle was actually deriving good quality, undamaged microfibrils from plant-based material such as wood, but several methods are now available. They are usually based on a combination of treatment with enzymes to release the cellulose from the plant-based material and gentle agitation to break apart the individual microfibrils, which are held together by hydrogen bonds. These hydrogen bonds will readily reform on cessation of the agitation, and scientists take advantage of this when processing the microfibrils into the various different materials.

As well as allowing cellulose microfibrils to join with each other, these hydrogen bonds also allow them to combine with various other materials, and scientists are now taking advantage of this to produce cellulose materials with a whole range of new properties. For example, scientists at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, are combining cellulose microfibrils with a positively-charged polymer to produce a water-purification filter.

The idea is simply to pour dirty water through the filter. The cellulose microfibrils will block the passage of dirt and other particles, while the positively-charged polymer will trap any bacteria and viruses in the water, as their outer surfaces tend to be negatively-charged.

“Our aim is that we can provide the filter for a portable system that doesn’t need electricity – just gravity – to run raw water through it,” says Anna Ottenhall, a PhD student at KTH’s School of Chemical Science and Engineering. The material could also be used to produce microbe-capturing bandages, plasters and packaging.

Scientists at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) in Lithuania are also producing antimicrobial packaging from cellulose, in this case for keeping food fresh. Their approach involves combining cellulose microfibrils with both ionic silver particles and essential oil from cloves, in order to prevent food being colonized by bacteria and mold and to halt the chemical processes that can also spoil food.

Silver particles have well-known antimicrobial properties, which studies have indicated are due to the release of silver ions that disrupt multiple microbial processes. As an added benefit, the silver particles also made the packaging stronger and more flexible. Clove essential oil, meanwhile, helps to combat the chemical processes responsible for spoilage.

“Active components of clove ethereal oil are very effective in tying-up free radicals; this oil proved efficient in enriching packaging with anti-oxidizing qualities,” explains Vesta Navikaitė-Snipaitienė, a chemical engineering PhD student at KTU. “This effect helps to keep food fresh for longer.”

Rather than develop new cellulose materials, other researchers are finding new uses for existing materials. One of the oldest of these is cellulose acetate, which was first made in 1865 by reacting cellulose with acetic anhydride and is still used for producing photographic film, among other applications. Now, as reported in Advanced Materials Technologies, scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US have shown that it also makes a good material for 3D printing.

Instead of melting the cellulose acetate, as happens with other polymers used for 3D printing, the MIT scientists liquify it by simply dissolving it in acetone. After printing, the acetone quickly evaporates away to leave solid cellulose acetate, which can be hardened further by treating it with sodium hydroxide. Keeping with the modification theme, the process works with modified cellulose acetate as well, which the scientists demonstrated by adding an antimicrobial dye to the cellulose acetate ink and then printing a pair of surgical tweezers.

The views represented here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of John Wiley and Sons, Ltd. or of the SCI.

Displaying 82 keywords used to tag this article:
  • Cartier tillbehör  
  • Siopa One Piece Swimsuits ag Praghs  
  • Replica Omega Seamaster Planet Ocea  
  • Montblanc Platinum Meisterstuck Fou  
  • Rolex : Professionell replika klock  
  • Relojes OMEGA: Seamaster Aqua Terra  
  • Moncler Classic Women Down Jacket S  
  • Pandora Anhänger  
  • Rolex Daytona Replica Watch Movemen  
  • Moncler Liquidazione : Moncler Outl  
  • IWC Fliegeruhr : Sveitsin Designer   
  • Mont Blanc Starwalker Red Gold Resi  
  • Moncler UK Classic Down Vest Sleeve  
  • Copy Rolex Air-King Fasion Oyster P  
  • New Balance 999 :  
  • Nike Basketball Shoes - sapatos nik  
  • Cosmograph Daytona  
  • Top qualità swiss replica orologi   
  • Replica Rolex Yacht-Master II Oyste  
  • Sconto penne Montblanc negozio on-l  
  • Fake Great Omega Seamaster Planet O  
  • Replica Breguet CLASSIQUE Series 33  
  • Moncler 2014 : Moncler Utförsäljn  
  • Moncler жилет женщины :  
  • Replica Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 11  
  • Patek Philippe Replilca Часы  
  • Prada Топ Ручки : Spyder к  
  • Tiffany Accessories 2014  
  • Christian Louboutin lenkkarit  
  • timberland uk  
  • Mont Blanc Ball Point Pen 111 [e7fe  
  • Replica Ulysse Nardin-Australia Bes  
  • Kjøp Din Fasjonable Fake Omega Klo  
  • Christian Louboutin Bianca 140mm Co  
  • Replica Watches Breguet Marine 5827  
  • Tiffany Bracelets : Tiffany Outlet   
  • rolex replica swiss Explorer Watch   
  • Black Christian Louboutin Brigette   
  • Rolex Daytona Watches Replica 4848   
  • Copy Watches Rolex New Watch Oyster  
  • Replica IWC ure  
  • Tiffany Jewelry Necklaces Fine Blue  
  • Replica Rolex Datejust II Watch - R  
  • Meisterstuck : Professional montbla  
  • Mænds Asics Onitsuka Tiger : asics  
  • Replica Rolex Pearlmaster 29 Oyster  
  • Tiffany Armbånd _ 2014 Billig Tiff  
  • Purchase Your Favorite Replica Hubl  
  • Chopard Klokker : Klokker Factory O  
  • Belstaff Small Men Bag Mountain Bro  
  • Womens Timberland Boots Roll Top [t  
  • Hublot  
  • Omega Seamaster Replica Watch Plane  
  • relojes Omega  
  • Omega De Ville Ladymatic 425.65.34.  
  • Copy Watches Rolex Submariner Watch  
  • Emporio Armani Watches : Replica Wa  
  • Goedkope Beats Studio Diamond | Bea  
  • Montblanc Meisterstuck : Profession  
  • Moncler Online - Rabatt Moncler Jac  
  • Moncler Outlet | Moncler On Sale  
  • Replica Cool IWC Big Pilot Automati  
  • Hovedgade  
  • Billiga Nike Utförsäljning Shop O  
  • Männer Timberland Boots Boots Outl  
  • Montblanc Boheme Mechanicalcils : D  
  • Bruk av informasjonskapsler : Profe  
  • Charms Pandora Pensionati  
  • Copy Watches Bell&ross Watch Asia E  
  • Tiffany & Co.1837 circle clasp Brac  
  • omega watches outlet  
  • Moncler Chalecos para mujer Precio   
  • Mont Blanc Marlene Dietrich Special  
  • Chopard Migliore Copia Watches Repl  
  • Christian Louboutin | Discount sapa  
  • Fake Omega Watches Constellation se  
  • Pandora Charms  
  • Jaeger - LeCoultre  
  • Replica Rado Watches  
  • Hot Sell Wedding Dresses  
  • Replica Vintage Chopard AAA Watches  
  • Replica Rolex Datejust Watch Two To