Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) are gaining interest as a "green" nanomaterial with superior mechanical and chemical properties for high-performance nanocomposite materials; however, there is a lack of accurate material property characterization of individual CNCs. Here, a detailed study of the topography, elastic and adhesive properties of individual wood-derived CNCs is performed using atomic force microscopy (AFM). AFM experiments involving high-resolution dynamic mode imaging and jump-mode measurements were performed on individual CNCs under ambient conditions with 30% relative humidity (RH) and under a N(2) atmosphere with 0.1% RH. A procedure was also developed to calculate the CNC transverse elastic modulus (E(T)) by comparing the experimental force-distance curves measured on the CNCs with 3D finite element calculations of tip indentation on the CNC. The E(T) of an isolated CNC was estimated to be between 18 and 50 GPa at 0.1% RH; however, the associated crystallographic orientation of the CNC could not be determined. CNC properties were reasonably uniform along the entire CNC length, despite variations along the axis of 3-8 nm in CNC height. The range of RH used in this study was found to have a minimal effect on the CNC geometry, confirming the resistance of the cellulose crystals to water penetration. CNC flexibility was also investigated by using the AFM tip as a nanomanipulator.
Abstract:Eucalyptus species are native to Australia but grown extensively worldwide as short rotation hardwoods for a variety of products and as ornamentals. We describe their general importance with specific emphasis on existing and emerging markets as energy products and the potential to maximize their productivity as short rotation woody crops. Using experience in Florida USA and similar locations, we document their current energy applications and assess their productivity as short-term and likely long-term energy and related products.
Cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs) are a class of cellulosic nanomaterials with high aspect ratios that can be extracted from various natural sources. Their highly crystalline structures provide the nanofibrils with excellent mechanical and thermal properties. The main challenges of CNFs in nanocomposite applications are associated with their high hydrophilicity, which makes CNFs incompatible with hydrophobic polymers. In this study, highly transparent and toughened poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) nanocomposite films were prepared using various percentages of CNFs covered with surface carboxylic acid groups (CNF-COOH). The surface groups make the CNFs interfacial interaction with PMMA favorable, which facilitate the homogeneous dispersion of the hydrophilic nanofibrils in the hydrophobic polymer and the formation of a percolated network of nanofibrils. The controlled dispersion results in high transparency of the nanocomposites. Mechanical analysis of the resulting films demonstrated that a low percentage loading of CNF-COOH worked as effective reinforcing agents, yielding more ductile and therefore tougher films than the neat PMMA film. Toughening mechanisms were investigated through coarse-grained simulations, where the results demonstrated that a favorable polymer-nanofibril interface together with percolation of the nanofibrils, both facilitated through hydrogen bonding interactions, contributed to the toughness improvement in these nanocomposites.
The title compounds have been prepared and studied as bidentate phosphine ligands complexed to the group 6 carbonyls and several first-row transition-metal halides. The ferrocene ligand behaves much like standard aromatic phosphines such as bis(diphenylphosphino)ethane. In contrast the cationic cobaltocenium ligand requires new synthetic approaches to prepare some transition-metal halide complexes and, in the metal carbonyl complexes, results in a shift of the carbonyl stretching frequencies to higher wavenumbers.
Raman spectroscopy was used to analyze cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) -polypropylene (PP) composites and to investigate the spatial distribution of CNCs in extruded composite filaments. Three composites were made from two forms of nanocellulose (CNCs from wood pulp and the nano-scale fraction of microcrystalline cellulose) and two of the three composites investigated used maleated PP as a coupling agent. Raman maps, based on cellulose and PP bands at 1098 and 1460 cm(-1), respectively, obtained at 1 μm spatial resolution showed that the CNCs were aggregated to various degrees in the PP matrix. Of the three composites analyzed, two showed clear existence of phase-separated regions: Raman images with strong PP and absent/weak cellulose or vice versa. For the third composite, the situation was slightly improved but a clear transition interface between the PP-abundant and CNC-abundant regions was observed, indicating that the CNC remained poorly dispersed. The spectroscopic approach to investigating spatial distribution of the composite components was helpful in evaluating CNC dispersion in the composite at the microscopic level, which helped explain the relatively modest reinforcement of PP by the CNCs.
The application of anthraquinone (AQ) as a pulping catalyst has been well documented in scientific studies and mill applications. AQ is known to increase the rate of delignification, enabling a reduction in pulping time, temperature, or chemical charge and an increase in pulp yield. This review does not focus extensively on specific details of AQ use but rather on critical milestones in the AQ process lifecycle, including its initial introduction, investigation of the reaction mechanism, and evaluation of best use by the pulping industry. The importance and difficulty of an economic justification for use of AQ are discussed, including their complication by modest improvement in yield obtained using AQ and low cost of the displaced chemicals. In many mills, documenting increased net mill revenue resulting from the use of AQ has been impossible. Recent health and safety studies and regulatory decisions have put the continuing use of AQ by industry in jeopardy. Given the unknown health risks, international regulatory environment, modest improvements available using AQ, and difficulty in economically accounting for the benefits, this likely represents the final chapter in the AQ life cycle.
Cellulose nanomaterials (CNs) are emerging advanced materials with many unique properties and growing commercial significance. A life-cycle risk assessment and environmental health and safety roadmap identified potential risks from inhalation of powdered CNs in the workplace as a key gap in our understanding of safety and recommended addressing this data gap to advance the safe and successful commercialization of these materials. Here, we (i) summarize the currently available published literature for its contribution to our current understanding of CN inhalation hazard and (ii) evaluate the quality of the studies for risk assessment purposes using published study evaluation tools for nanomaterials to assess the weight of evidence provided. Our analysis found that the quality of the available studies is generally inadequate for risk assessment purposes but is improving over time. There have been some advances in knowledge about the effects of short-term inhalation exposures of CN. The most recent in vivo studies suggest that short-term exposure to CNs results in transient inflammation, similarly to other poorly soluble, low toxicity dusts such as conventional cellulose, but is markedly different from fibers with known toxicity such as certain types of multiwalled carbon nanotubes or asbestos. However, several data gaps remain, and there is still a lack of understanding of the effects from long-term, low-dose exposures that represent realistic workplace conditions, essential for a quantitative assessment of potential health risk. Therefore, taking precautions when handling dry forms of CNs to avoid dust inhalation exposure is warranted.
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