Katarzyna Kępa, Nasim Amiralian, Lisbeth Grondahl, Darren Martin*


Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology Building 75,
Corner of College Rd & Cooper Rd,
University of Queensland
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


The global increase in demand for sustainable materials has drawn increasing academic and industrial attention to lignocellulosic resources. Fibres derived from plants exhibit high strength, and are an environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic fibres. Despite wood fibre derived raw materials historically being the most commonly used biomass source e.g. in the pulp and paper industry, today non-wood sources are being continuously explored as there is a need to expand the range of renewable materials. One of the emerging new sources and an attractive alternative to wood, are Australian Spinifex arid grasses. Exploration of this unique Australian resource is particularly important due to its abundance, renewability, and low cost. Moreover, it has been shown that spinifex-derived cellulose nanofibres are especially interesting compared to other fibres derived from natural resources due to their differentiated mechanical performance. Thus, there is a potential to use them as high-performance additives, which can give a chance to replace the fossil resources with renewable materials.

Lignocellulose nanofibres derived from spinifex can form a film similar to ordinary paper, but with exceptional mechanical properties due to the small size of fibres. The high tensile strength and relatively high strain of spinifex-derived nanopaper is related to the strong forces between the cellulose molecules and the nanofibrillar network structure. The spinifex films are composite materials comprising of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin in their structure. Each of these components plays a different role in the biomechanics of the plants but their effect on the spinifex-derived materials is not fully understood. The results from our latest studies explaining the relationship between the structure, composition, and processing of the nanopaper will be presented and discussed. The presentation will focus on discussing the influence and role of biochemical components in the spinifex-derived materials on their physical and mechanical properties. In addition, the impact of processing of nanofibrillated cellulose and fabrication of nanopaper, with emphasize on pressure and temperature during pressing the films will be presented.



Katarzyna Kępa

Title: Ms

Affiliation, Country: AIBN, UQ, Australia

Phone: +61 0422 383 747 E-mail: katarzyna.kepa@uq.net.au

Research interests: materials engineering, surface science, polymer engineering, biomaterials