KAWANISHI, Japan - April 17, 2018 (Investorideas.com Newswire) Nano Cellulose, Cellulose nanofiber (CNF) is said to be a next-generation material. It is derived from natural biomass resources such as trees and plants. Therefore, CNF is recyclable and biodegradable. Because its raw material is an abundant natural resource, it is obtainable at low cost. Therefore, CNF is an excellent green, next-generation nanomaterial. The high aspect ratio of CNF originates from its width (4–20 nm) and its length (several micrometers). It weighs approximately one-fifth that of steel, but it is more than five times stronger. CNF has low thermal expansion coefficient, comparable to that of glass fiber, although its elasticity modulus is higher than that of glass fiber, making it a hard, strong, and robust material. CNF composites with thermoplastic resin are expected to mechanically strengthen the resin and to reduce the weight. In addition, mixing CNF can render resin plastics biodegradable to some extent. Hence, CNF can be an excellent new material for automotive, aeronautic, architectural, and other applications while having a positive environmental impact. However, researchers have met with difficulties in making CNF resin composites because of the hydrophilicity of CNF (most resins are hydrophobic).
In this regard, Green Science Alliance Co., Ltd. has successfully established a manufacturing process for mixing CNF with various thermoplastic resins, namely, polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC), polystylene (PS), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polylactic acid (PLA), polycarbonate (PC), biodegradable aromatic/aliphatic copolyesters, and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA).
This process enhanced the mechanical strength (tensile strength) and that is the first in the world to mix CNF into various types of thermoplastic resins that actually enhanced the mechanical strength at the industrial level. For example, the tensile strength of PE is 10.5 N/mm2, whereas a CNF/PE composite has a strength of approximately 24 N/mm2. The highest CNF concentration in the mixture is about 33.3 %; and they are aiming for even higher CNF concentrations and mechanical strength. Especially in case of PLA and biodegradable aromatic/aliphatic copolyesters, enhancing the mechanical strength has large scientific impact because biodegradable materials such as CNF enabled such improvement. Enhancing the mechanical strength is possible with materials such as clay, glass fiber, and carbon fiber but they are not biodegradable. So that biodegradable resin/CNF composite would be a solution to serious environmental issues such as microplastic pollution of oceans.
Green Science Alliance Co., Ltd. is an affiliate of Fuji Pigment Co., Ltd. group of companies which focuses on researching and developing highly advanced materials in the field of energy and environmentally friendly industry area. Fuji Pigment has established a method for mixing CNF with resins in previous news although it has not firmly enhanced the mechanical strength yet.
The company also supplies CNF dispersion in water, as well as in organic solvents such as alcohol, pyrrolidone, glycol ether, glycol ether acetate, ketone, and hydrocarbons, upon request of the customer. It also supplies chemically modified cellulose.
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