A hidden gift of nature. Everything we want material to be. And more.
Nanocellulose is a term we use to describe cellulose-based nanomaterial. Based on its production, we distinguish between nanofibrillar and nanocrystalline cellulose. There is also bacterial nanocellulose, mostly applied in food industry (low-calories’ desserts, salads …), paper industry (improving strength), electronics (speaker membranes, flexible OLED displays), in pharmacy (filtration membranes) and medicine (adhesive patches, artificial skin).
Along with being natural, abundant, renewable and biodegradable, nanocellulose boasts itself with additional exceptional properties:
* low specific mass,
* dimensional stability,
* large specific surface area,
* high particle-binding capacity,
* high mechanical strength of single particles,
* optical characteristics (refraction coefficient, transparency),
* responsiveness to changes in environment.
Aforementioned properties make nanocellulose attractive for applications in various materials – from composites, construction materials, functional additives and coatings. Its wide-ranged utilisation capabilities are especially visible in packaging industry, in production of bio-composites, bio-plastic, in paper and textile industry etc. Adding nanocellulose to fibre suspension, for example, improves mechanical characteristics of product (paper, cardboard, corrugated cardboard) in spite of its lower grammage. By adding nanocellulose to coating color we can improve barrier properties of product towards oxygen and water molecules, and also improve product printability. Nanocellulose can also improve strength and barrier properties of PVC packaging. In textile industry, nanocellulose could be used in production of technical textiles; showing strong potential as nanofiller in composite textile products or as means of coating fibres.
Nanocellulose is available in form of dust, foam, gel or suspension. To produce nanocellulose, various input material (such as wood, cellulose, straw, and sugar beet etc.) and also different technologies are used. Demand for nanocellulose is vast. Because production costs are still significantly high, the world is on the look for efficient technology solutions. Slovenia's comparative advantage in this matter should not be overlooked.
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