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Partnership Snapshot

Welcome to the home website for the Purdue University - US Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) joint research program in nanoscale science and engineering of wood-based materials. This new research initiative has three main drivers in forestry based nanotechnology, fundamental knowledge development, applied product development, and new technological innovations.

Core Research Programs

Three core research program areas are being developed, each build on the strengths of Purdue and FPL institutions and address industry needs.

  • Nanocellulose Technology
  • Predictive Modeling
  • Sensor Technology

Broader Impacts

The impact on humankind by natural cellulose based materials (wood, hemp, cotton, linen) is evident by its extensive used as an engineering material for thousands of years, which continues today as verified by the enormity of the world wide industries in forest products, paper, textiles, etc. The more recent consumer push for products made from renewable and carbon neutral resources, and are biodegradable with low environmental and animal/human health risks has revitalized research in cellulose-based materials and composites. One general theme area is to produce cost effective cellulose reinforced composites that perform comparably to inorganic/mineral based reinforced composites (eg, glass fiber).

Size Scale of Cellulose-based Particles

Cellulose is one of nature's wonders; the base reinforcement unit for the hierarchical structures used by various plant species giving them the unusual ability to provide high mechanical strength, a high strength-to-weight ratio, and high toughness.

What's New

Rethink Trees

Rethink Trees

Research Highlights

  • Critical Review Paper Accepted in Chemical Society Reviews

    R Moon, A Martini, J Nairn, J Simonsen, J Youngblood. "Cellulose Nanomaterials Review: Structure, Properties and Nanocomposites"

    This critical review summarizes cellulose nanoparticle, cellulose nanocomposite processing, properties, and predictive modeling from molecular dynamic simulations of crystalline cellulose to the continuum modeling of composites made with such particles are reviewed. The review has 392 references. [publication]

  • Nanoparticle Functionalized Cellulose Nanoparticles

    A room temperature procedure was developed to preferentially form metallic and semiconducting nanoparticles on cellulose nanoparticles. This was the first study to show high density nanoparticle formation on individual cellulose nanoparticles.[publications]

  • Mechanical Properties of Cellulose Nanoparticles

    A procedure was developed to calculate the transverse elastic modulus of individual cellulose nanoparticles from Atomic Force Microscopy nanoscale indentations, providing the first experimental measurements of transverse property measurement of individual cellulose nanoparticles. [publications]


  • 2012 TAPPI International Conference on Nanotechnology for Renewable Materials,
    June 5-7, 2012, Hyatt Regency Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.
    Learn more at www.tappinano.org.