Cellulose nanopaper (CNP) has potential application in the fields of electronic devices, visual display substrates, batteries, etc., due to its light-weight, low thermal expansion, excellent mechanical and optical properties. However, CNP is sensitive to moisture due to the hydrophilic nature of cellulose, leading to a loss of strength and durability. The group of LI Bin at QIBEBT has used organic acid hydrolysis plus homogenization in dimethylacetamide to extract lignin-containing cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs) in a one-step process. The CNFs were directly used to fabricate strong, flexible, and water resistant CNP without any complex chemical modification. In the obtained CNP, the residual lignin was found to act as a reinforcing agent between CNFs. The tensile strength and toughness of the lignin-containing CNP were much higher compared with the one without lignin. The water-resistance of CNP was also greatly improved, and its maximum wet tensile strength reached up to 83 MPa, the highest value yet reported.

CAS news release, June 15, 2018