Nanocellulose in medicine and green manufacturing

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Information about Nanocellulose in medicine and green manufacturing

Published on November 8, 2016

Author: ruchicakumar


1. Ruchica Kumar Novocus Legal LLP 11/8/2016 Nanocellulose In Medicine and Green Manufacturing

2. Nanocellulose Ruchica Kumar Page 1 of 4 INTRODUCTION Purpose of this document is to provide readers with a glimpse of recent developments in technical sector of nanocellulose. We have compiled this document from reported facts and our sources are also given herein. We firmly believe that this would just be the beginning and there would be many more applications possible of described technique. We are only reporting recent developments, but you might be able to find a new application of the material described herein. BACKGROUND Nanocellulose 1 is a material derived from wood fibres. It has exceptional strength characteristics on a par with Kevlar, a lightweight material used to manufacture high-strength, durable materials. However, in contrast to Kevlar and other materials based on fossil fuels, nanocellulose is completely renewable. WHAT IS NANOCELLULOSE? Nanocellulose (also called microfibrillated cellulose, MFC or nanofibrillated cellulose, NFC) has been around since the early 1980s. It is produced by delaminating cellulosic fibres in high- pressure homogenisers. Fully delaminated nanocellulose consists of long (1-2 micrometres) microfibrils (5-20 nm in diameter) and has the appearance of a highly viscous, shear-thinning transparent gel. Commercialisation of nanocellulose failed to take off back in the 1980s because of the amount of energy required (30,000 kWh/tonne) to delaminate fibres. Subsequent developments have resulted in various fibre pre-treatment methods, by which energy consumption can be reduced by up to 98 % (around 500 kWh/tonne). APPLICATIONS FOR NANOCELLULOSE There are a wide variety of potential applications for nanocellulose, including, for instance, the manufacture of both paper and board. With regard to paper/board, nanocellulose could 1

3. Nanocellulose Ruchica Kumar Page 2 of 4 be used as a strengthening agent in paper with a high filler content. Other areas of application may be surface sizing and coating, e.g. as a barrier material (against oxygen, water vapour, grease/oil) in food packaging. Then there are applications in the field of nanocomposites, non-caloric food thickeners, emulsion/dispersion, oil recovery applications, cosmetic/pharmaceutical applications, and applications in the electronics sector. (MFC gel.) NANOCELLULOSE IN MEDICINE AND GREEN MANUFACTURING As introduced above, nanocellulose is one of the most abundant natural materials on earth. What if you could harness its strength to lighten the heaviest of objects, to replace synthetic materials, or use it in scaffolding to grow bone, in a fast-growing area of science in oral health care2? This all might be possible with cellulose nanocrystals, the molecular matter of all plant life. As industrial filler material, they can be blended with plastics and other synthetics. They are as strong as steel, tough as glass, lightweight, and green. 2

4. Nanocellulose Ruchica Kumar Page 3 of 4 "Plastics are currently reinforced with fillers made of steel, carbon, Kevlar, or glass. There is an increasing demand in manufacturing for sustainable materials that are lightweight and strong to replace these fillers," said Douglas M. Fox, associate professor of chemistry at American University. "Cellulose nanocrystals are an environmentally friendly filler. If there comes a time that they're used widely in manufacturing, cellulose nanocrystals will lessen the weight of materials, which will reduce energy." (Dental follicle stem cells cultured on different scaffolds for 10, 20 and 30 days. Alizarin red stain was used to detect stem cell mineralization (the red indicates the bone mineralization). Bone differentiation rate of cells on the cellulose-nanocrystal scaffold was faster compared to the bioplastics scaffold. (Image: Martin Chiang, National Institute of Standards and Technology) Fox has submitted a patent for his work with cellulose nanocrystals, which involves a simple, scalable method to improve their performance. Fox's method could be used as a biomaterial and for applications in transportation, infrastructure and wind turbines. THE POWER OF CELLULOSE Cellulose gives stems, leaves and other organic material in the natural world their strength. That strength already has been harnessed for use in many commercial materials. At the nano- level, cellulose fibres can be broken down into tiny crystals, particles smaller than ten millionths of a meter. Deriving cellulose from natural sources such as wood, tunicate (ocean-

5. Nanocellulose Ruchica Kumar Page 4 of 4 dwelling sea cucumbers) and certain kinds of bacteria, researchers prepare crystals of different sizes and strengths. For all of the industry potential, hurdles abound. As nanocellulose disperses within plastic, scientists must find the sweet spot: the right amount of nanoparticle-matrix interaction that yields the strongest, lightest property. Fox overcame four main barriers by altering the surface chemistry of nanocrystals with a simple process of ion exchange. Ion exchange reduces water absorption (cellulose composites lose their strength if they absorb water); increases the temperature at which the nanocrystals decompose (needed to blend with plastics); reduces clumping; and improves re-dispersal after the crystals dry. CELL GROWTH Cellulose nanocrystals as a biomaterial is yet another commercial prospect. In dental regenerative medicine, restoring sufficient bone volume is needed to support a patient's teeth or dental implants. Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, through an agreement with the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research of the National Institutes of Health, are looking for an improved clinical approach that would regrow a patient's bone. When researchers experimented with Fox's modified nanocrystals, they were able to disperse the nanocrystals in scaffolds for dental regenerative medicine purposes. "When we cultivated cells on the cellulose nanocrystal-based scaffolds, preliminary results showed remarkable potential of the scaffolds for both their mechanical properties and the biological response. This suggests that scaffolds with appropriate cellulose nanocrystal concentrations are a promising approach for bone regeneration," said Martin Chiang, team leader for NIST's Biomaterials for Oral Health Project. Another collaboration Fox has is with Georgia Institute of Technology and Owens Corning, a company specializing in fiberglass insulation and composites, to research the benefits to replace glass-reinforced plastic used in airplanes, cars and wind turbines. He also is working with Vireo Advisors and NIST to characterize the health and safety of cellulose nanocrystals and nanofibers. "As we continue to show these nanomaterials are safe, and make it easier to disperse them into a variety of materials, we get closer to utilizing nature's chemically resistant, strong, and most abundant polymer in everyday products," Fox said.

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