The April 2020, NCI-SW webinar, Nanoengineering Cellulose for Environmental & Biomedical Applications captured the attention of many of our colleagues, as it made reference to “hairy” nanocellulose. Presenter Amir Sheikhi, Professor at Penn State University, described how these micro- and nanoengineered soft materials have many biological applications, and yes it is cellulose, the material that trees are made from.
It is a significant opportunity provided by nanocellulose, that it appears to offer an environmentally friendly way to inhibit scale formation. In addition, the nanocellulose materials are useful at remediating water in general, they can reinforce paper, they can have antibacterial properties, and they can sense humidly changes. To learn more, view the webinar recording here.
One of the biggest applications, at least from a commercial standpoint, is the de-scaling of water processing equipment. Scale is a deposit of materials like calcium and magnesium carbonates from hard water that coats the inside of pipes and equipment. This is what it might look like: