Nanocellulose

Produced by processing woodfibre down to the smallest fibre component, nanocellulose was developed during the 1980s, but was not successfully commercialised because of the energy intensive production process involved. Sappi's patented process does not require significant energy inputs. What's more, the chemicals used in the process can be recycled easily and reused without generating large amounts of effluent.

What is nanocellulose?

Cellulose is the main component of plant stems, leaves and roots. Traditionally, its main commercial use was in producing paper and textiles. Nanocellulose opens up opportunities for advanced, planet-friendly solutions in place of environmentally harmful products. It currently exists in three forms:
• Cellulose Micro Fibrils (CMF)
• Cellulose Nano Fibrils (CNF)
• Cellulose Nano Crystals (CNC)

All processes involve the separation of CMF, CNF and CNC from the woodfibre.

Advantages of nanocellulose
Nanocellulose offers paper producers numerous benefits such as lighter basis mass without compromising strength, higher filler content and improved paper machine efficiency through higher wet web strength at higher freeness. It can also enhance barrier functionality in both food and industrial applications.
Unique physical properties of nanocellulose:
• In crystalline form, eight times the tensile strength of steel • Very stiff and lightweight • Sustainable, renewable, biocompatible and biodegradable • Derived from cellulose — the most abundant polymer on earth, and • More importantly, a renewable resource.
Interested in this product?
Get in touch with us - Valida@sappi.com

Sappi’s CNF

The CNF produced by Sappi has unique morphology, and can be specifically modified for either hydrophobic or hydrophilic applications. Products produced using Sappi’s CNF will benefit from the high strength characteristics which, for example, can be translated into lighter and stronger fibre-reinforced composites and plastics in the production of next-generation lighter, fuel-efficient vehicles.

Sappi CNF could also be used in a wide range of other industrial and everyday products and devices due to its ability to improve on the properties of materials with which it is combined, for example, thickening water-based products such aspaints, foods and concrete. Because of CNF’s low oxygen permeability, it could also be a future replacement for plastic films in composite packaging.

Other applications include films in lithium batteries and touch-screens. As cellulose is inherently biocompatible and bio-absorbable, there is considerable potential in biomedical applications such as wound dressings and regenerative medicine.

Nano in context
The Greek word 'nanos' means 'dwarf'. One nanometre is one-billionth of a meter. A sheet of A4 paper is about 100,000 nanometres thick. A typical pinhead is about 1.5 million nanometres in diameter. A typical nanocellulose fibre would be approximately 15-30 nanometres in width.
Our strategy
Nanocellulose aligns with Sappi’s strategy of developing opportunities in new and adjacent markets.

Potential uses

Among its many potential uses, nanocellulose can be used as:
• A substitute for metal materials such as high-tech spun fibres, for example in vehicle manufacture
• Antimicrobial films and water absorbent pads in medical applications
• Electronic displays
• In sensors that could help monitor structures like bridges to detect stresses
• Food packaging material that prevents oxygen entry and spoiling
• A flavour carrier, suspension stabiliser and thickener in food
• A thickener in industrial applications
• As aerogel to mop up oil spills, and
• As an additive to improve the mechanical properties of rubber, latex, thermosetting resins, soya protein and starch-based matrices.

New developments in wood processing supports the move to a biobased economy that utilises materials that are renewable and biodegradable and that do not compete with food sources.

Sappi Valida nanocellulose responds to a critical need to replace undesirable products, used to impart performance characteristics such as reinforcement and stabilisation, with sustainable natural ingredients. Valida is compatible with a diverse range of applications such as cosmetics, coatings, agriculture and construction materials.

Sappi Valida is compatible with a diverse range of applications such as cosmetics, coatings, agriculture and construction materials. Explore them here.

With the significant increase in consumption of hand sanitisers, we are excited to introduce Sappi’s Valida natural cellulose product for the formulation of more skin- and planet-friendly solutions.
Valida performs as a multifunctional stabilizer reducing segregation and bleeding in concrete and concrete admixtures.
Sappi Valida performs as a multifunctional stabiliser with low impact on viscosity in a wide range of coating applications while supporting a sustainable lifecycle.