Cellulose NanoCrystals Functionalization using Non-Thermal Atmospheric-Pressure Plasmas
Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) can be economically extracted from the wood fibres of Canada’s vast forests. They are sustainable, biodegradable and exhibit unique characteristics such as high surface area-to-volume ratio, tensile strength and low thermal expansion coefficient. A broad range of potential applications of CNCs in various sectors including aerospace, automobile, microelectronics, cosmetics, pharmaceutics, coatings, oil and gas and even food requires that they are surface modified in order to acquire new properties or be compatible with the host matrix.
The proposed collaborative research project capitalizes on the exceptional characteristics of nonthermal atmospheric pressure plasmas to develop a versatile, simple, low-cost and eco-friendly process to functionalize CNCs in order to allow their dispersion in polymer matrices to produce a novel class of nanocomposites. The development of such a plasma process for CNC-based nanocomposites synthesis will not only open new markets for our industrial partners Plasmionique and CelluForce, but will also contribute to expand the Canadian forest sector economy.