, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 459-494

Microfibrillated cellulose and new nanocomposite materials: a review

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Abstract

Due to their abundance, high strength and stiffness, low weight and biodegradability, nano-scale cellulose fiber materials (e.g., microfibrillated cellulose and bacterial cellulose) serve as promising candidates for bio-nanocomposite production. Such new high-value materials are the subject of continuing research and are commercially interesting in terms of new products from the pulp and paper industry and the agricultural sector. Cellulose nanofibers can be extracted from various plant sources and, although the mechanical separation of plant fibers into smaller elementary constituents has typically required high energy input, chemical and/or enzymatic fiber pre-treatments have been developed to overcome this problem. A challenge associated with using nanocellulose in composites is the lack of compatibility with hydrophobic polymers and various chemical modification methods have been explored in order to address this hurdle. This review summarizes progress in nanocellulose preparation with a particular focus on microfibrillated cellulose and also discusses recent developments in bio-nanocomposite fabrication based on nanocellulose.