Nanocellulose is a non-toxic, biodegradable cellulosic nanomaterial. It has several noble properties including lightweight, mechanical strength, liquid crystalline phases, and biocompatibility. Thus, nanocellulose has many potential applications in automotive, aerospace, food packagining, 3-D printing resins, and others. However, current technologies of nanocellulose including cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) and cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) have several drawbacks: high production costs, caustic and toxic processes, and poor adhesion to polymeric materials.
Innotech Materials has developed catalytic oxidation and cleavage of cellulose for synthesis of oxidized nanocellulose using iron-activated peroxide oxidation. Cellulose is first oxidized to yield oxidized cellulose, which is subsequently cleaved to produce oxidized nanocellulose. This catalytic cellulose cleavage is effective to make the corresponding oxidized nanocellulose from commercial cellulose including methyl cellulose and carboxymethyl cellulose. Otherwise it si difficult to make such functional nanocellulose with current methods. The process is cost- and energy effectiv, environmentally friendly, and produces inexpensive nanocellulose.
Functional nanocellulose containing carboxylic acid ester, amides, and amino acids for pharmaceutical applications such as drug delivery or protein purification has been prepared using surface modification. By modifying process, inexpensive modified nanocellulose adhesive to hydrophobic polypropylene has been prepared and would be useful as a reinforcing agent for polymer composites and as a filtering agent to remove organic pollutants (POPs) such as persistent organic compounds in water treatments.
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