Hydrodynamic alignment and assembly of nano-fibrillated cellulose resulting in strong cellulose filaments

Authors: Håkansson, K.H., Fall, A, Lundell, F., Yu, S, Krywka, C, Roth, S.V., Santoro, G, Kvick, M., Prahl Wittberg, L., Wågberg, L, Söderberg, D.
Document Type: Article
Pubstate: Published
Journal: Nature Communications
Volume: 5  
Year: 2014


Cellulose nanofibrils can be obtained from trees and have considerable potential as a building block for biobased materials. In order to achieve good properties of these materials, the nanostructure must be controlled. Here we present a process combining hydrodynamic alignment with a dispersion–gel transition that produces homogeneous and smooth filaments from a low-concentration dispersion of cellulose nanofibrils in water. The preferential fibril orientation along the filament direction can be controlled by the process parameters. The specific ultimate strength is considerably higher than previously reported filaments made of cellulose nanofibrils. The strength is even in line with the strongest cellulose pulp fibres extracted from wood with the same degree of fibril alignment. Successful nanoscale alignment before gelation demands a proper separation of the timescales involved. Somewhat surprisingly, the device must not be too small if this is to be achieved.