(449d) Preparation of Nanofibrillated Biomass (NFB) for Thin Films and Composites

Bhagia, S., Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Dunlap, J., University of Tennessee
Lowden, R., Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Muchero, W., Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Pu, Y., Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Ragauskas, A. J., University of Tennessee
Nanofibrillated cellulose has been used for making composites, nanopapers and thin films. However, such materials have not been constructed using native lignocellulosic biomass. Using biomass instead of cellulose allows complete utilization of plant material and may reduce chemical and energy consumption. The process for making nanofibrillated biomass (NFB) and its use in composites and thin films is described. Fibrillation of poplar hardwood was carried out using a super mass collider for producing nanofibrillated biomass. Whole biomass nanopapers were constructed by simply drying the suspensions under ambient conditions and without the use of any organic solvents. Contact angle, tensile testing, water vapor transmission rate, water retention value, transmission electron microscopy and scanning electron microscopy were carried out on the biomass nanopapers. Fiber dimension was a critical factor in making flexible biomass nanopaper. Unlike wood flour, incorporation of up to 20% NFB into polylactic acid did not cause a major loss of tensile properties of the composites. Overall, this fibrillation process allows size reduction of wood to nanoscale dimensions, which may allow production of better lignocellulosic materials.