, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 2629–2645 | Cite as

Ultrasound-assisted conversion of cellulose into hydrogel and functional carbon material

  • Teck Wei Ching
  • Victoria Haritos
  • Akshat TanksaleEmail author
Original Paper


Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) was fibrillated using an ultrasound probe to produce a hydrogel, which after freeze-drying and carbonisation under N2 atmosphere at elevated temperatures produced highly porous carbon. Ultrasound treatment in the absence of acid resulted in high aspect ratio, nanocrystalline cellulose due to fibrillation of the outer layers of the MCC fibre bundles, whereas in the presence of acid, cleavage of glycosidic bonds resulted in smaller aspect ratio fibres. Carbonisation of the acid-generated nanocrystalline cellulose samples at 800 °C provided the highest BET surface area of 917.0 m2/g, with over 18% pore volume in mesopores. The resulting high surface area carbon was able to absorb 100% of methylene blue in a solution having an initial concentration of 10 mg/L in 20 min which is comparable with many commercially available activated carbon products.

Graphical Abstract

Ultrasonication of microcrystalline cellulose resulted in nanocrystalline cellulose hydrogel which after freeze drying and carbonisation provided high surface area mesoporous carbon.


Microcrystalline cellulose Ultrasound Nanocellulose hydrogel Carbonisation Dye adsorption 



This work is supported by Monash University Faculty of Engineering International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (FEIPRS) and CSIRO Flagship Collaboration Fund. The Authors acknowledge use of the facilities and assistance of Dr Timothy Williams and Dr Emily Chen at the Monash Centre for Electron Microscopy.

Authors’ contribution

The manuscript was written through contributions of all authors. All authors have given approval to the final version of the manuscript.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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