LNNano - Brazilian Nanotechnology National Laboratory

Research

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Due to its privileged position as a food and biofuels producer and the large biodiversity of its flora Brazil has quickly progressed as a key producer of raw materials and energy from biomass. Continuing scientific inputs to bring new solutions for transforming by-products and residues from agribusiness into value-added new products is one of the main tasks of the Laboratory of Nanostructured Materials. The main topics covered by our researchers are focused in carbon, cellulosic and composites materials from these abundant and renewable resources.

 

Carbon materials

Researcher in charge: Dr. Mathias Strauss (mathias.strauss@lnnano.cnpem.br)

 

The main focus of this research line is to prepare carbon based materials from the biochar resulting from the pyrolysis of biomass. The goal is to convert the biochar into valuable carbon products for water/air decontamination, polymer additives, soil conditioning, eletrochemical and electrical devices, and friction reducers.

Several approaches are used to transform and modify the biochars into the desired materials, which include: i) thermochemical activation to enhance de specific surface area, ii) milling procedures to reduce the particles sizes, iii) acid/base leaching to remove inorganic contaminations, iv) chemical oxidations/reductions and reactive annealing´s to change de surface chemistry. During the development of the biomass carbon-based materials the synthesis protocols are linked to the materials properties using standard and advanced characterization techniques in order to tune its performance for the desired application.

 

Cellulosic materials

Researcher in charge: Dr. Juliana Bernardes (juliana.bernardes@lnnano.cnpem.br)

This research line targets the production of cellulosic materials using two main approaches: solubilization and fragmentation. Water based-solvent is successfully used in our lab to shape and prepare functional cellulosic materials, such as: films, adhesive and porous aerogels from sugarcane bagasse.

Cellulose particles with widths in the nanometer are biomaterials with distinctive potentially useful features. Nowadays, a strong research effort is being made to find new methodologies for the isolation of such nanomaterials from wood, cotton and agriculture biomass wastes. In our group, we are producing nanocrystalline cellulose (CNC) and cellulose nanofibers (CNF) from sugarcane bagasse in order to exploit their potential use as rheology modifier, substrate for flexible electronics and drug carrier. These involves work in collaboration WIN (Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology) UNICAMP and UFABC.

 

Polymeric composite materials 

Researcher in charge: Dr. Rubia Gouveia (rubia.gouveia@lnnano.cnpem.br)

This research is focused on the development of high performance polymeric composites from lignocellulosic materials, including polymers filled with micro or nano cellulose particles. The focus is the understanding of the relations between structure-properties, performance and processing in order to produce advanced new bio-derived materials with cost-competitive and different properties, which will contribute to new applications and production of commodities. The goal is to apply the nanocellulose into polymeric composites materials for several applications such as automobiles, packaging, consumer goods, implants, prosthesis, sensors and electrical devices. These involves work in collaboration with UNICAMP and Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research (IAP).