How cellulose nanofibrils and cellulose microparticles impact paper strength - A visualization approach
Journal article, 2021

Cellulosic nanomaterials are in the focus of academia and industry to realize light-weight biobased materials with remarkable strength. While the effect is well known, the distribution of these nanomaterials are less explored, particularly for paper sheets. Here, we explore the 3D distribution of micro and nanosized cellulosic particles in paper sheets and correlate their extent of fibrillation to the distribution inside the sheets and subsequently to paper properties. To overcome challenges with contrast between the particles and the matrix, we attached probes on the cellulose nano/microparticles, either by covalent attachment of fluorescent dyes or by physical deposition of cobalt ferrite nanoparticles. The increased contrast enabled visualization of the micro and nanosized particles inside the paper matrix using multiphoton microscopy, X-ray microtomography and SEM-EDX. The results indicate that fibrillary fines enrich at pores and fiber-fiber junctions, thereby increasing the relative bonded area between fibers to enhance paper strength while CNF seems to additionally form an inner 3D network.

Multiphoton microscopy

Cellulose nanofibrils


Cellulosic fines


Confocal laser scanning microscopy

X-ray microtomography


Mathias Hobisch

Technische Universität Graz

Simon Zabler

Fraunhofer-Institut fur Integrierte Schaltungen

Sylvia M. Bardet

University of Limoges

Armin Zankel

Technische Universität Graz

Tiina Nypelö

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Applied Chemistry

Rene Eckhart

Technische Universität Graz

Wolfgang Bauer

Technische Universität Graz

Stefan Spirk

Technische Universität Graz

Carbohydrate Polymers

0144-8617 (ISSN)

Vol. 254 117406

Subject Categories

Polymer Chemistry

Paper, Pulp and Fiber Technology

Polymer Technologies





More information

Latest update