Cellulose Nanofibers: Fabrication and Surface Functionalization Techniques

  • Kai Zhang
  • Ahmed BarhoumEmail author
  • Chen Xiaoqing
  • Haoyi LiEmail author
  • Pieter Samyn
Reference work entry


Cellulose fibers which consist of a bundle of stretched cellulose chain molecules with cellulose fibril are the smallest structural unit of plant fiber. These elementary fibrils or nanofibers are about 2–20 nm in diameter and a few micrometers in length. Cellulose nanofiber (CNF) is the world’s most advanced bio-nanomaterial. As the cellulose is the most abundant, renewable, and sustainable biopolymer on earth, it creates low environmental impact in its production and disposal. In this chapter, the unique properties of CNFs were introduced including stiffness, biodegradability, biocompatibility, and ability to form a strong entangled nanoporous network, thermal properties, and swelling in water and water absorptivity. Different fabrication techniques including physical methods (e.g., mechanical refining), chemical methods (treatment with acids and alkalis), and biological methods (treatment with specific bacteria and enzymes) were discussed. The chemical grafting on the CNFs and deposition of nanoparticles on nanofiber surface were described. Finally, the future prospects and challenges of CNFs were presented.


Cellulose nanofibers Morphological structure Mechanical properties Thermal properties Biocompatibility Fabrication techniques Surface functionalization 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Mechanical and Electrical EngineeringBeijing University of Chemical TechnologyBeijingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Organic-Inorganic CompositesBeijing University of Chemical TechnologyBeijingChina
  3. 3.Institut Européen des Membranes (IEMM, ENSCM UM CNRS UMR5635)MontpellierFrance
  4. 4.Applied and Analytical Chemistry, Institute for Materials Research (IMO-IMOMEC)Hasselt UniversityDiepenbeekBelgium

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