Journal of Polymers and the Environment

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 1012–1023 | Cite as

Isolation and Characterization of Cellulose Micro/Nanofibrils from Douglas Fir

  • Rui Zhu
  • Vikram Yadama
Original Paper


Cellulose micro/nanofibrils were successfully extracted from softwood Douglas fir in three distinct stages. Initially raw Douglas fir wood chips were subjected to a hot water extraction (HWE) treatment. Then HWE treated cellulosic fibers underwent a bleaching process followed by a mild ultrasonication. Chemical composition analysis according to ASTM standards confirmed that most of hemicelluloses and nearly all lignin were removed during the first two stages, respectively. Microscopy studies showed formation of nanofibrils during the ultrasonication process, and increasing ultrasonication time led to generation of greater percentage of nanofibrils. With the removal of the matrix materials, the crystallinity of the cellulosic fibers was increased, whereas thermal stability was maintained. HWE opened up the cell wall structure, thereby facilitating the subsequent fractionation into micro/nanofibrils. The obtained cellulose micro/nanofibrils could serve as reinforcing material in composite products or raw material for other applications, such as filtration membrane.


Hot water extraction Ultrasonication Cellulose micro/nanofibrils Douglas fir 



This study, as part of the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA), was funded by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive (Grant No. 2011-68005-30416) from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Xinxiu New Materials Co., Ltd.Santa ClaraUSA
  2. 2.Composite Materials and Engineering CenterWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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