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Ionizing Radiation Processing and its Potential in Advancing Biorefining and Nanocellulose Composite Materials Manufacturing



Michael T. Postek, Dianne L. Poster, Andras Vladar, Mark S. Driscoll, Jay A. LaVerne, Zios Tsinas, Mohamad Al-Sheikhly


Nanocellulose is a high value material that has gained increasing attention because of its high strength, stiffness, unique photonic and piezoelectric properties, high stability and uniform structure. Through utilization of a biorefinery concept, nanocellulose can be produced in large volumes from wood at relatively low cost via ionizing radiation processing. Ionizing radiation causes significant break down of the polysaccharide and leads to the production of potentially useful gaseous products such as H2 and CO. The application of radiation processing to the production of nanocellulose from woody and non-wood sources, such as field grasses, bio-refining by-products, industrial pulp waste, and agricultural surplus materials remains an open field, ripe for innovation and application. Elucidating the mechanisms of the radiolytic decomposition of cellulose and the mass generation of nanocellulose by radiation processing is key to tapping into this source of nanocelluose for the growth of nanocellulostic-product development. More importantly, understanding the structural break up of the cell walls as a function of radiation exposure is a key goal and only through detailed dimensional metrology and careful characterization studies can this be achieved at the level of detail that is needed to further the growth of large scale radiation processing of plant materials. This work is focused on the strong collaboration between NIST and its academic partners pursuing the unique demonstration of applied ionizing radiation processing to plant materials for the manufacturing metrology and characterization of novel nanomaterials for a vast array of applications.
Radiation Physics and Chemistry


e-beam, cellulose, wood, biomass, biorefining, paper


Postek, M. , Poster, D. , Vladar, A. , Driscoll, M. , LaVerne, J. , Tsinas, Z. and Al-Sheikhly, M. (2017), Ionizing Radiation Processing and its Potential in Advancing Biorefining and Nanocellulose Composite Materials Manufacturing, Radiation Physics and Chemistry, [online], (Accessed May 30, 2024)


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Created September 1, 2017, Updated September 25, 2017