Robert J. Moon - Research Interests

Cellulose Nanomaterials & Composites

Cellulose Nanocrystal

Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) and nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) are 1D nanoparticles that are being extracted from wood and provide a unique "building block" on which a new biopolymer composites industry can be based. Crystalline cellulose has a greater axial elastic modulus than Kevlar and its mechanical properties are within the range of other reinforcement materials. These particles have high aspect ratio, low density, and a reactive surface of -OH side groups that facilitates grafting chemical species. This surface functionalization allows tailoring of cellulose particle surface chemistry to facilitate self-assembly, regulated dispersion in a wide range of matrix polymers, and control of both the particle-particle and particle-matrix bond strength. Cellulose particles are also environmentally safe (Sources of microcrystalline cellulose are sustainable, biodegradable, carbon neutral, and have low environmental, health and safety risks) and can be processed at industrial scale quantities and at low costs (e.g. wood CNCs are a byproduct of the paper industry, and CNCs are a potential byproduct of any cellulose to biofuels program). These cellulose nanoparticles provide an opportunity to produce green nanocomposites with wide ranging applications for consumer products (packaging), electronics (flexible circuits), energy (flexible solar panels), and defense (body armor).

Our interest in cellulose nanocrystals research covers a wide scope, some specific research areas are:

  • Cellulose Nanomaterials & Composites
  • Processing-Structure-Property Relationships
  • Hierarchical Structure Effects on Properties
  • Sustainable, Biodegradable, Materials

Recent Publications