What is nanocellulose?
To begin with, let’s see what cellulose is.
In nature, we are surrounded by cellulose, as it is the major building block of all terrestrial and marine ecosystems on this planet. Cellulose is a polymer that naturally occurs in all plants, certain animals, and certain microorganisms.
In wood, a typical content of cellulose is 40-45 wt%. Driven by strong interactions among cellulose molecules, they assemble into fibrils, and further into fibril aggregates. When the aggregates are glued together with other natural structures such as hemicelluloses and lignin, wood fibers are formed.
Nanocellulose or cellulose nanomaterial is actually the isolated fibrils and/or fibril aggregates with cross-sectional widths ranging from 5 to 100 nanometers.
Over the last decade, nanocellulose has attracted increased attention, due to the possibilities of using this renewable nanomaterial for a number of applications.