Nanocellulose Boosts Strength of Concrete


Nanocellulose (also called cellulose nano fibers or CNF) are tiny structural building blocks derived from biomass (like trees and plants). They have great potential for conversion to lightweight, high-strength, advanced materials. Research in and commercialization of nanocellulose is growing quickly in the U.S. and globally, with a 1,000 ton per day pilot facility at the University of Maine and the nation’s first commercial nanocellulose plant recently opened at PaperLogic in Turners Falls, Massachusetts.

Researchers at Purdue University recently demonstrated that nanocellulose can increase the tensile strength of concrete by 30%. Cellulose nanocrystals are extremely small – approximately 1/1,000th the width of a grain of sand. They can be derived from agriculture or the pulp and paper industry.

According to Pablo Zavattierie, an associate professor at Purdue, “[Nanocellulose] is an abundant, renewable material that can be harvested from low-quality cellulose feedstocks already being produced in various industrial processes.”