, Volume 25, Issue 12, pp 7053–7064 | Cite as

Ultrasonic pretreatment of cellulose in ionic liquid for efficient preparation of cellulose nanocrystals

  • Zhiqiang Pang
  • Peiyu Wang
  • Cuihua DongEmail author
Original Paper


Currently, cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) are primarily prepared with acid-catalyzed hydrolysis process using strong mineral acid. However, it suffers from low yield and high dosage of acid. For high yield and low dosage of acid, we prepare CNCs by two steps method. Firstly, the cellulose was ultrasonically pretreated in ionic liquid (IL) at mild conditions. Secondly, the samples were hydrolyzed by H2SO4 with concentration of 20–23%. The results showed that during ultrasonic pretreatment at mild conditions, accessibility and susceptibility of the amorphous region in cellulose was substantially enhanced upon cooperative action of ultrasonication and ILs. Meanwhile, the crystalline region of cellulose was retaining untouched, and further results in the fact that enhanced reactivity of the amorphous region enabled acid-catalyzed hydrolysis to proceed smoothly. Experimental results show that the extracted CNCs exhibited rod-like shape with dimension of 220–300 nm in length and 15–22 nm in width. It’s also shown that thermostability of CNCs was greatly enhanced compared to that prepared by the traditional process. Ultrasonic pretreatment of cellulose in ILs offered a promising and efficient system for CNCs preparation with high yield, crystallinity and low dosage of acid.

Graphical abstract


Cellulose nanocrystals Ultrasonic pretreatment Selectivity on hydrolysis Ionic liquids Yield 



The authors are grateful for the financial support from Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province (ZR2017MC007), R&D Focus of Shandong Province (2017GGX80102).

Supplementary material

10570_2018_2070_MOESM1_ESM.docx (3.9 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 4020 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Biobased Material and Green PapermakingQilu University of Technology (Shandong Academy of Science)JinanChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Pulp and Paper EngineeringSouth China University of TechnologyGuangzhouChina

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