Chemical structure–property relationships in nanocelluloses

Mica L. Pitcher, Roya Koshani, Amir Sheikhi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Nanocelluloses, nanoscale cellulosic particles or fibrils, are an appealing class of nanomaterials with enormous potential for sustainable development. They have great promise to target some of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the United Nations. Nanocelluloses are derived from the most abundant biopolymer in the world, cellulose, which have multiple hydroxyl groups on their surface, enabling a vast range of chemical modifications. The interplay between the chemical structure and physicochemical properties of nanocelluloses is crucial to engineering the next generation of green, functional nanomaterials. In this review paper, we provide a comprehensive account of the structure–property relationships in nanocelluloses, which may establish the basis for the design of precision bio-based materials. Chemical modifications of nanocelluloses, including hydrolysis, oxidation, esterification, amidation, and polymer grafting, provide an array of chemical and physical properties that open opportunities in a diverse spectrum of applications. We review how chemical modifications affect the physicochemical properties of nanocelluloses, such as thermal stability, hydrophobicity, and dispersibility in nonpolar media. Understanding nanocellulose chemical structure–property relationships is integral to the development of sustainable material platforms based on the most renewable biopolymer on earth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-31
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Polymer Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry

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