Cellulose is a fascinating biopolymer and a never-ending source of new, sustainable materials. It is attracting increasing attention in different fields owing to its abundance, biodegradability and unique physicochemical properties. Chemical modification of cellulose, and the properties of the materials thereby produced, depends on the structure of the fibrils that make up cellulose fibres, and a team of Portuguese researchers has used neutrons to characterise the structure and packing of cellulose fibrils and their bundles. Inelastic neutron scattering (INS) spectroscopy is particularly useful for the study of the dynamics of hydrogen atoms and hydrogen-bond networks, and their results provide a sound basis for future use of INS spectroscopy in the characterisation of functionalised cellulose fibres and composite materials.
Related publication: C. Araujo et al. “Hydrogen Bond Dynamics of Cellulose through Inelastic Neutron Scattering Spectroscopy" Biomacromolecules 19(2018), 1305−1313, DOI: 10.1021/acs.biomac.8b00110