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Research progress of nanocellulose functional materials and their applications

Time : 2021-08-23 Hits : 16

Nanocellulose is the most abundant biomass resource on earth. It has the advantages of easy degradation, renewable, non-toxic and cheap and easy to obtain. It is expected to replace traditional petrochemical resources and be used to produce various advanced functional materials with high added value. According to the preparation methods and sources of nanocelluloses, nanocelluloses can be divided into three categories: cellulose nanocrystalline (CNC), cellulose nanofiber (CNF) and bacterial cellulose (BC).

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Figure 1. Sources, microstructure and potential applications of nanocellulose

Nanocellulose functional materials for chiral photonics

Chirality is ubiquitous in nature and plays an important role in life science and materials science. CNC is a kind of nano - scale chiral photonic crystal material. The chiral nematic liquid crystal phase structure of CNC can not only be used to prepare functional membrane materials with high mechanical properties and special optical properties, but also can be used as a soft template to induce nanoparticles to form functional materials with chiral structure. Therefore, chiral catalysis, chiral metamaterials, polarization encryption and biosensing have important applications.

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Figure 2. Applications of nanocellulose functional materials in chiral photonics

Nanocellulose functional materials for software drivers

In recent years, based on various soft materials derived from synthetic polymers, such as typical hydrogels, liquid crystal elastomers and shape memory polymers, scientists have cleverly designed a variety of biomimetic intelligent actuators to mimic or even exceed the driving behavior of organisms. However, these traditional polymer-based materials are often synthesized through complex processes, are costly and difficult to degrade or recycle, which may impose a certain burden on the environment. It is worth noting that biomimetic software actuators based on nanocellulose have attracted more and more attention due to their superior mechanical flexibility, high hygroscopic ability, sustainable or eco-friendly, reusable or biodegradable, and biocompatibility.

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Figure 3. Application of nanocellulose based functional materials in software driver field

Nanocellulose functional materials for energy storage

Because of its large specific surface area, excellent mechanical flexibility, good chemical stability and environmental friendliness, as well as the interlacing between fibers, nanocellulose is easy to form a porous structure that facilitates ion and electron transport. Hydrophilic functional groups such as hydroxyl and carboxyl groups are attached to the surface of the fiber, and it has a good moisturizing ability in electrolyte solution, which makes the derived functional materials have a broad application prospect in the field of energy storage. Nanocellulose based functional materials can not only be used as components in energy storage devices, such as membranes, electrolytes, adhesives and carriers. At the same time, high temperature carbonization, in situ chemical polymerization and electrochemical deposition can be used to compound electroactive materials to obtain finer nanostructures and excellent electrochemical properties.

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Figure 4. Application of nanocellulos-based functional materials in the field of energy storage

Nanocellulose functional materials for biomedical applications

In the dry state, the mechanical properties of nanocellulose are comparable to those of human bones, while in the wet state, the physicochemical properties of nanocellulose are similar to those of extracellular matrix. At the same time, in addition to excellent physical and chemical properties, nanocelluloses have high compatibility with other polymers or functional materials, which makes nanocelluloses based functional materials have good practical value and broad application prospects in the biomedical field.

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Figure 5. Applications of nanocellulos-based functional materials in the biomedical field

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