Ecocomposites Reinforced with Cellulose Nanoparticles: An Alternative to Existing Petroleum Based Polymer Composites

EPA Grant Number: R830897
Title: Ecocomposites Reinforced with Cellulose Nanoparticles: An Alternative to Existing Petroleum Based Polymer Composites
Investigators: Winter, William T.
Institution: SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
EPA Project Officer: Lasat, Mitch
Project Period: January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2007
Project Amount: $390,000
RFA: Environmental Futures Research in Nanoscale Science Engineering and Technology (2002) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Nanotechnology , Safer Chemicals


This project will make wholly biobased and biodegradable nanocompostites. These will be compared in terms of thermal and mechanical properties to existing glass filled composites made from petrochemicals. Because the reinforcing particles are microfibrils of cellulose or crystals derived from such microfibrils, it is correct to classify these materials as Nanocomposites. The primary objective is to show that such composites can compete in performance areas with current materials.

A nanocomposite is formed by the uniform dispersion of rigid nanoscale particles in a matrix of a softer plastic. We will use sub-microscopic fibrils and crystals derived from them by acid hydrolysis as the nanoparticles. These particles, which have transverse dimensions on the order of 10nm, are derived from wood cells, seed hairs, grasses, recycled paper and board or even from municipal solid waste. They are produced by a combination of acid hydrolysis, cell disruption and dispersion methods. Microfibril surface chemistry can be modified, where appropriate, to enhance compatibility of particles with the plastic matrix. In the present work biodegradable polylactic acids from corn, soybean oil polyesters and polyhydroxyalkanoates will be used in place of traditional petroleum based polymers as the matrix component of the composite.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 8 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 3 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Green Chemistry, waste reduction, nanotechnology, cellulose, agricultural products, polymer characterization, environmentally conscious manufacturing, and sustainable development., Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, Environmental Chemistry, New/Innovative technologies, Chemistry and Materials Science, Environmental Engineering, NOx reduction, nanotechnology, cellulose nanoparticles, nanocrystals, green chemistry, nanocomposite polymers

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • Final Report