Nanoscience

Cell Wall Disintegration Induces Dent Formation on Wood Nanocellulose Surfaces: the Origin of Diverse Defects in Sustainable Fibrillar Materials

Authors

Abstract

Wood-derived, sustainable cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) with high strength, thermal stability, and other diverse functionalities are produced via wet disintegration of cell wall cellulose with a robust hierarchical structure. Herein, we report that atomic-scale dents are formed at various positions on the CNF surfaces in the process of cell wall disintegration. These dents were identified as the structural origin of CNF defects such as kinks and splits, eventually resulting in the fragmentation of CNFs. The dents were detected by comparing the experimentally measured and computer-simulated heights of CNFs using atomic force microscopy. Through analyses of the amount, distribution, and shape of the dents, we found that the dent parts constituted 30–40% of the total length of the CNFs. The length and depth of the dent structures depended on their positions on the CNF surfaces. We discuss the mechanism of dent formation in the process of cell wall disintegration.

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Supplementary material

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Cell Wall Disintegration Induces Dent Formation on Wood Nanocellulose Surfaces: the Origin of Diverse Defects in Sustainable Fibrillar Materials
Wood-derived, sustainable cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) with high strength, thermal stability, and other diverse functionalities are produced via wet disintegration of cell wall cellulose with a robust hierarchical structure. Herein, we report that atomic-scale dents are formed at various positions on the CNF surfaces in the process of cell wall disintegration. These dents were identified as the structural origin of CNF defects such as kinks and splits, eventually resulting in the fragmentation of CNFs. The dents were detected by comparing the experimentally measured and computer-simulated heights of CNFs using atomic force microscopy. Through analyses of the amount, distribution, and shape of the dents, we found that the dent parts constituted 30–40% of the total length of the CNFs. The length and depth of the dent structures depended on their positions on the CNF surfaces. We discuss the mechanism of dent formation in the process of cell wall disintegration.