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Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


You are here: FPL Home  / Research  / Research Emphasis Areas  / Nanotechnology  / Research Highlights

30 Research Highlights - Nanotechnology

Publication Year: 2019
Thermoformed cup containing 1% cellulose nanocrystals wet compounded in polylactic acid. USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 1329
Wet Compounding of Cellulose Nanomaterials into Biodegradable Polymers

Research at the Forest Products Laboratory has shown that cellulose nanomaterials can improve the barrier properties of polymer films, and such improvements can lead to increased shelf-life of food. However, compounding cellulose nanomaterials into t ...
Publication Year: 2018
Image of composites made with modified cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs) (left) and unmodified CNFs (right). USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 1306
Modifying Cellulose Nanomaterials for Wet Compounding into Polylactic Acid

Cellulose nanomaterials (CNMs) have been demonstrated to significantly improve various properties, including mechanical and barrier performance, of polymer composites, but one of the major impediments for producing these cellulose nanocomposites is t ...
Publication Year: 2017

Highlight ID: 1289
Enabling cellulose nanomaterial commercialization

Cellulose nanomaterials are a high-value product that can be made from low-value wood. ...
Manufacturing process of the triboelectric fiberboard.
Highlight ID: 1290
Nanocellulose-based triboelectric nanogenerator for green and sustainable electricity generation

Triboelectric nanogenerator fiberboard made from recycled wood fibers and functionalized cellulose nanofibril films demonstrates the possibility of efficiently converting foot traffic to electricity through a green and sustainable manner, which holds ...
Lignin-containing cellulose nano-crystals
Highlight ID: 1284
Production of cellulose nanocrystals from raw wood via hydrothermal treatment

Hydrothermal treatment can be used for production of cellulose nanocrystals directly from green wood. Forest Service scientistsused Raman spectroscopy to better understand the molecular details of this process. ...
Publication Year: 2016
Blown film extrusion of completely biobased poly(lactic acid) and cellulose nanocrystal polymer composites.  Sonal Karkhanis and Anna Kace Marra, Michigan State University.
Highlight ID: 654
FPL<>Renewable, Biodegradable Polylactic Acid-Cellulose Nanocrystal Composites for Packaging Applications

Packaging research conducted at the Forest Products Laboratory is aimed at developing fully biobased composites containing cellulose nanomaterials for packaging applications. Cellulose nanomaterials exhibit a number of interesting properties and have ...
Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers who performed small angle neutron scattering (SANS) experiments to study the effects of chemical modifications and moisture on the wood nanostructure at the ORNL High Flux Isotope Reactor Bio-SANS beamline. From left to right, Joseph Jakes (FPL), Nayomi Plaza (FPL), Shou Qian (ORNL), and Venky Pingali (ORNL). Joseph Jakes, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
Highlight ID: 664
Improving Moisture Durability of Forest Products Using Small-angle Neutron Scattering

Moisture is the underlying cause of numerous durability issues in forest products, including decay, lack of dimensional stability, and fastener corrosion. An improved understanding of where and how water is absorbed in wood nanostructure will acceler ...
Researchers are developing improved methods for processing cellulose nanofibrils. Rob Sabo, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
Highlight ID: 653
Improving the Hydrolysis and Fibrillation of Wood Into Cellulose Nanomaterials

Cellulose nanomaterials have been receiving an increasing amount of interest from both the scientific and industrial communities because of their interesting properties, including good strength, absorbency, and optical properties, such as transparenc ...
Chemical modification can make cellulose nanocrystals compatible with polymer resins and thermoplastics. Greg Scheunaman, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
Highlight ID: 660
Site-Selective Surface Modification of Cellulose Nanocrystals

Forest Service researchers The hydrophilic surfaces of cellulose nanocrystals are synthetically converted to highly reactive functional groups. ...
Publication Year: 2015
Cellulose nanofibril-based electronics after 60 days of degradation test; fungus fully covers the film. USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 605
Biodegradable Computer Chips Made From Wood

The current consumable materials used in the electronics industry are neither recyclable nor sustainable. To reduce the use of expensive materials for electronics and to better protect the environment, recyclable and sustainable materials need to be ...
Sequential vacuum treatment of southern pine with naturally occurring cellulose nanocrystals followed by biocide demonstrated penetration of wood before agglomeration occurred (left), but reversing the treatment sequence resulted in agglomeration on the surface of southern pine (right). USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 602
Cellulose Nanocrystals Chemically Entrap Biocide in Wood

Forest Service scientists evaluated naturally occurring cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) that are reported to have unique chemical properties and impart high strength were evaluated for the potential to improve durability of wood. CNC were shown to penet ...
Scanning electron image of cellulose nanocrystals coordinated to the surface of an epoxy particle. Natalie Girouard, Georgia Institute of Technology
Highlight ID: 614
Discovery of Cellulose Nanocrystals as Pot-life Stabilizers for Epoxy Coatings

Waterborne epoxy coatings are high-value, sought-after environmentally friendly products in the coating industry mostly due to their ease of use, performance and low maintenance. Waterborne epoxy coatings are part of a $56 to 64 billion industry. Add ...
Uniform dispersion and neutral color of a polypropylene: CNC composites produced with solid state shear pulverization (a), and the opposite case for a standard melt mixer composite with excessive thermal degradation (b). Krishnan Iyer, Northwestern University
Highlight ID: 612
High-performance Cellulose Nanocrystal Polyolefin Composites are an Attractive Filler for Polymer Composites

Nanocellulose-polypropylene and nanocellulose-polyethylene composites exhibited the greatest improvement ever reported for such composites made with unmodified cellulose nanocrystals (CNC). Therefore, addition of biorenewable CNCs to the over 50 mill ...
New model of wood cellulose in never-dried and dried states. Umesh Agarwal, USDA Forest Service.
Highlight ID: 619
Using Raman Spectroscopy to Analyze Wood, Cellulose-Nanomaterials, and Their Composites

Raman spectroscopy provides information based on molecular vibrations and is well-suited to analyze wood and cellulose-nanomaterials. Using a recently developed method to determine the fraction of cellulose that is in a crystalline region, this resea ...
Publication Year: 2014
Cellulose nanofibril smart sponge absorbs oil which is floating on the top of water. Bryce Richter, University of Wisconsin
Highlight ID: 579
A "Smart Sponge" Soaks Up Pollutants

This "smart sponge" is one of a number of applications under development for the tiny wood fibers known as cellulose nanofibrils (CNF). The fibers possess a number of unique properties including renewability, high surface areas, high aspect ratios, a ...
Forest Service scientists Alan Rudie (left) and Richard Reiner stand with cellulose nanocrystals manufactured at the Forest Products Laboratory. Steve Schmieding, USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 578
Cellulose Nano-enabled Products: Applications and Volume Estimates

Cellulose nanomaterials are the next big (albeit, small) thing in wood. They can be combined in numerous ways to change the way many products work. This research identified potential end product markets and provided estimates of the potential demand ...
Nanocellulose (upper left), an engineering plastic (upper right), and compound made from them (center). Test specimens made from the compound (bottom). Craig Clemons, USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 580
Enhancing High-Performance Plastics with Nanocellulose

Forest Service scientists are using nanocellulose to improve the performance of engineering plastics. By applying advanced processing methods, the scientists are able to temporarily reduce the melting point of the engineering plastic so that nanocell ...
The ability of chemicals to move in cell walls enables fastener corrosion and decay to occur. Stan Lebow, USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 588
New Insight into Wood Damage Mechanisms

Wood fails because bad things start to happen when wood gets wet. Dimensional stability, mold growth, fungal attack, fastener corrosion, all are caused by fluctuations in moisture or an abundance of moisture in the wood. This research presents a new ...
Short cellulose nanofibrils isolated from wood. DSimaging, LLC
Highlight ID: 587
Short Cellulose Nanofibrils Reinforce Aligned Polyvinyl Alcohol Fibers

Cellulose nanomaterials have recently gained much attention for their potential use for reinforcing polymers and for use in functional materials. Forest Service researchers developed procedures for creating short cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs) that are ...
Publication Year: 2013
Transmission electron microscope image of cellulose nanocrystals. Robert Moon, USDA Forest Service
Highlight ID: 449
Ceramic-Like Thermal Expansion Obtained from Cellulose Nanocrystal Films

One of the unique properties of cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) are their low dimensional change with changes in temperature. Understanding the role and mechanism associated with thermal expansion within CNCs and CNC composites is important to a variety ...
The localized stiffness of thin paper materials can now be measured with a single test. Thinkstock
Highlight ID: 444
New Method Measures Localized Stiffness of Thin Paper Materials with a Single Test

Forest Products Laboratory researchers have developed a method to measure localized stiffness of thin paper materials with a single test. Although developed for use on problems in the paper industry, this equipment and analysis are equally useful for ...
Forest Service researchers are developing films for water decontamination using cellulose nanofibers. Thinkstock
Highlight ID: 450
Removing Organic Compounds from Water with Reusable Nanofiber Films

Researchers produced films for water decontamination using cellulose nanofibers as a matrix material for the suspension of photocatalytic nano particles. ...
Publication Year: 2012
Flexible electronic substrate made from cellulose nanomaterial. Forest Service
Highlight ID: 8
Cellulose Nanofiber Composites Can Serve as Substrate for Flexible Electronics

Transparent films made from cellulose nanofibers have low thermal expansion and the potential to serve as a foundation for flexible electronics. ...
Highlight ID: 14
New Cellulose Nanomaterials Pilot Plant Keeps Up With Market Demand

Materials are being supplied to three government agencies and six partner universities to accelerate the development of advanced cellulose-reinforced composites, and printed, flexible electronic circuits and products ...
Publication Year: 2011
Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images of the formation of silver nanoparticles on the surface of Tunicate CNCs. Robert Moon, Forest Service
Highlight ID: 301
Cellulose Nanocrystals

Cellulose nanocrystals are ultra-small rod-like reinforcement material that can be extracted from trees, plants and some sea animals. This new technology has potential benefit to a variety of cellulose based industries such as paper, packaging, texti ...
Flooring made of old-growth Douglas-fir salvaged from deconstructed military barracks. Steve Schmieding, Forest Service
Highlight ID: 281
Evaluating the environmental impact of building material recovery and reuse

Within the green building and sustainable construction fields, there is a growing movement to recover and reuse building materials in lieu of demolition and landfill disposal. Reuse has several benefits including reducing carbon footprint, conserving ...
Highlight ID: 287
Nonresidential Building Construction in the United States,

The construction of low-rise nonresidential buildings is an important market for lumber, structural and nonstructural wood panels, and engineered wood products. Consumption in 2008 was substantially higher than in 2003, and helped maintain solid wood ...
Publication Year: 2010

Highlight ID: 191
Cellulose Nanocrystals: Novel Templates for the Synthesis of Nanostructures

Harvesting the properties of widely available natural biopolymers for the design of novel systems in nanobiotechnology has been largely ignored in favor of other biological molecules, such as proteins, viruses, or DNA. A joint research effort between ...

Highlight ID: 175
Scale-up of cellulose nano material production

There is considerable research internationally on cellulose nano-materials as reinforcement fibers for high strength composites. A persistent problem has been unavailability of cellulose nano-crystals (CNC) and nano-fibrillated cellulose (NFC), the r ...

Highlight ID: 177
Wood decay enters new era of genomics research

Over the past decade, research collaborations between the Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute (JGI) and the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) have resulted in major advances on understanding the fundamental genetics of the fungi responsible ...