Cellulose Nanomaterials: Plant-Based Nanoparticles Growing a Sustainable Future

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Abstract: Cellulose based materials (wood, cotton, etc.) have been used by our society as engineering materials for thousands of years and their use continues today as verified by the enormity of the world wide industries in forest products, paper, textiles, packaging, etc.  A new family of cellulose based particles (Cellulose Nanomaterials) with new functionality and performance are being developed to further expand the use of renewable materials in the ever widening consumer products base.   Cellulose nanomaterials (CNs) are nanoparticles extracted from a wide variety of source materials (e.g. trees, plants, algae, bacteria). These fibril-like particles (3-50 nm wide, 50-2000+ nm long) have a unique combination of characteristics: high mechanical properties, low coefficient of thermal expansion, high aspect ratio, and low density.  The exposed –OH side groups on CN surfaces can be readily modified to achieve different surface properties, and have been used to adjust CN self-assembly and dispersion within a wide range of suspensions and matrix polymers, and to control interfacial properties in composites (e.g. CN-CN and CN-matrix).  Also, CNs can potentially be produced at industrial size quantities and at low costs, and preliminary tests have shown low environmental, health and safety issues.  Research in CNs has grown rapidly in the last few years in an ever growing application space, including but not limited to: reinforcing fillers for polymers, cements, fibers, transparent films, flexible transparent displays, biomedical implants, drug delivery, barrier films, separation membranes, batteries, supercapacitors, sensors, etc.

This seminar will provide a general introduction to CNs, a review of the current state of art in CN research, and will describe some of the current CN research at GaTech.    

Bio:Dr. Robert J. Moon is a Materials Research Engineer at the USDA Forest Service - Forest Products Laboratory, and is an Adjunct Professor in both the School of Materials Science and Engineering (at GaTech), and in the School of Materials Engineering (at Purdue University). Dr. Moon received a B.S. in Metallurgy from the University of Wisconsin (1994), a M.S. (1996) and PhD (2000) in Materials Engineering from Purdue University.  He is currently stationed at and is a member of the Renewable Bioproducts Institute at GaTech. Dr. Moon is an expert in processing-structure-property relationships as they apply in various aspects of CN research, such as, nanocomposites, hybrid composites, recyclable solar cells, multi-scale modeling, characterization, etc.  He is an internationally recognized researcher in CNs and is the chairman of the Technical Association for Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI) Nanotechnology Division, a member of the organizing committee for the annual Technical Conference on Nanotechnology for Renewable Materials, a member of ISO standards development for CNs, and is active many other workshops and roadmap development.

Dr. Moon’s publication record can be found at:

Google scholar: http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=FD8YFDkAAAAJ&hl=en

ResearchGate:  https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Robert_Moon


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Kelly Smith
  • Created:04/09/2015
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:04/13/2017