Development and applications of cellulose nanofibres based polymer nanocomposites


In the last decade there has been an increasing interest in the search for biobased sources of novel functional composite materials for application in several domains, such as in packaging, automotive and aeronautic industries, structural materials and electronic devices. Cellulose fibres, due to their abundance and mechanical properties are among the most important resources for the development of biobased composite materials. More recently, cellulose nanofibres like nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) and bacterial cellulose (BC) gained particular attention in this context because of their unique features and properties. NFC is obtained by disintegration of common plant fibres, using high-pressure homogenizers, and has a high aspect ratio and specific surface area combined with remarkable strength and flexibility, low thermal expansion, high optical transparency and specific barrier properties. BC is produced by several bacteria, as a tridimensional network of nano- and micro-fibrils and has higher purity, water holding capacity, crystallinity, tensile strength and Young’s modulus than conventional plant fibres. In this chapter, a comprehensive overview on the production, processing, properties and applications of cellulose nanofibres (NFC and BC) based polymer nanocomposites will be compiled and discussed. A vast collection of cellulose nanocomposites, such as those with other natural polymers and synthetic thermoplastic and thermosetting matrices, will be addressed aiming to establish the genuine potentialities of cellulose nanofibres in this field.


Carla Vilela, Ricardo J. B. Pinto, Ana R. P. Figueiredo, Carlos Pascoal Neto, Armando J. D. Silvestre, Carmen S. R. Freire

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