Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Nanocomposite Material Combines Virtues Of Cellulose, Paper And Plastics

Date:
August 25, 1999
Source:
Virginia Tech
Summary:
Researchers at Virginia Tech have developed a one-step process for creating thermoplastic nanocomposites from cellulose fibers. They have discovered that by reacting wood pulp fibers in a solvent medium that does not fully penetrate the fibers, then hot-pressing the partially modified pulp fibers at elevated temperature, a semi-transparent polymer sheet is formed that is actually a nanocomposite of cellulose esters and unmodified cellulose.

(Blacksburg, Va. August 24, 1999) -- Researchers at Virginia Tech have developed a one-step process for creating thermoplastic nanocomposites from cellulose fibers.

Hiroyuki Matsumura, research scientist at Daicel Chemical Industries, Ltd. of Japan, and Wolfgang Glasser, wood science professor at Virginia Tech, will present their research at the 218th American Chemical Society National Meeting, which is being held in New Orleans Aug. 22-26. The researchers have discovered that by reacting wood pulp fibers in a solvent medium that does not fully penetrate the fibers, then hot-pressing the partially modified pulp fibers at elevated temperature, a semi-transparent polymer sheet is formed that is actually a nanocomposite of cellulose esters and unmodified cellulose.

The wood pulp raw material starts out looking like pulled apart tissue paper. After the solvent is added, the fibers look much the same, but actually the surfaces of the microfibrils within each wood pulp fiber have become melt-flowable like plastics. "By hot-pressing these partially modified pulp fibers, the cellulose ester surfaces of the modified microfibrils fuse to form a continuous material," explains Matsumura. "The fused microfibrils contain unmodified cellulose at their core. The nanocomposite consists of a mixture of cellulose and cellulose ester (plastic) in which each component has a dimension several nanometers."

The resulting material has the virtues of thermoplastics, in that it is resistant to water, can be shaped by heat, and is expandable. Because it is a nanocomposite rather than a blend, the material also retains the virtues of cellulose fibers, which nature uses as reinforcement. "The unmodified cellulose adds strength and biodegradability," says Matsumura. "It is also cheaper than the more highly processed cellulose ester materials commercially available. It comes from a renewable resource and we have developed a low-input process both in terms of time and materials."

He anticipates the thermal nanocomposites may be used not only where strength, resistance to moisture, and resistance to heat are desired, such as panel products in transportation industries and casings for electrical products and appliances, but also "where a pleasant feel is valued, such as board products for furniture."

Biodegradability is important for agricultural materials and trays for food products. "There are many such uses where we don't want the wrap to outlast the content. When you send garbage to the landfill in a plastic bag, you would like the bag to degrade in addition to the content," Matsumura points out.

The paper, "Thermoplastic nanocomposites from cellulose" (CELL 55), will be presented Tuesday, Aug. 24, at 10:45 a.m. in Convention Center Room 256.

Daicel Chemical Industries, Ltd., which makes cellulose and petroleum-based products, sent Matsumura to Virginia Tech two years ago to study with Glasser, who heads the biobased material/recycling research program in the College of Natural Resources. Matsumura will return to Japan this fall. A patent is pending on the thermoplastic nanocomposite cellulose material.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Tech. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Virginia Tech. "New Nanocomposite Material Combines Virtues Of Cellulose, Paper And Plastics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 August 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990825081445.htm>.
Virginia Tech. (1999, August 25). New Nanocomposite Material Combines Virtues Of Cellulose, Paper And Plastics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990825081445.htm
Virginia Tech. "New Nanocomposite Material Combines Virtues Of Cellulose, Paper And Plastics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990825081445.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

AP (July 30, 2014) Smartphone powered paper airplane that was popular on crowdfunding website KickStarter makes its debut at Wisconsin airshow (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Driverless cars could soon become a staple on U.K. city streets, as they're set to be introduced to a few cities in 2015. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins