Local Crystallinity in Twisted Cellulose Nanofibers

16 July 2020, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Cellulose is crystallized by plants and other organisms into fibrous nanocrystals. The mechanical properties of these nanofibers and the formation of helical superstructures with energy dissipating and adaptive optical properties depend on the ordering of polysaccharide chains within these nanocrystals, which is typically measured in bulk average. Direct measurement of the local polysaccharide chain arrangement has been elusive. In this study, we use the emerging technique of scanning electron diffraction to probe the packing of polysaccharide chains across cellulose nanofibers and to reveal local ordering of the chains in twisting sections of the nanofibers. We then use atomic force microscopy to shed light on the size dependence of the inherent driving force for cellulose nanofiber twisting. The direct measurement of crystalline twisted regions in cellulose nanofibers has important implications for understanding single cellulose fibril properties that influence the interactions between cellulose nanocrystals in dense assemblies. This understanding may enable cellulose extraction and separation processes to be tailored and optimized.


electron diffraction

Supplementary materials

Local crystallinity in twisted cellulose nanofibers SI


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.