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Master Thesis: Nanocellulose barrier films for liquid packaging

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Nanocellulose films have excellent gas barrier properties, however these properties are compromised in humid and wet environments. Different approaches have been tried to improve the water stability of nanocellulose films, including crosslinking,1 counterion exchange,2 adding multi-valent salts to the film casting solution,3 and dipping ready-made films into solutions of electrolyte or acid/base.4,5 A new method to prevent or diminish the swelling or disintegration that occurs at high humidity has also been suggested recently. This approach involves the preparation of inorganic-organic hybrid films and affords us the ability to further tailor the nanocellulose film properties depending on the inorganic in question.

In this project, we suggest a systematic comparison of the different methods used to impart water stability to films, specifically to understand if we can extend the excellent gas barrier of nanocellulose films to high humidity and even wet conditions. Two types of nanocellulose will be tested side by side; cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) and cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs).  Both nanomaterials are plant-based, but CNCs are relatively short (100-300 nm long) and rigid, compared with CNFs, which are longer (ca. 1 µm in length) and more flexible. We foresee these types of films may be useful for liquid packaging applications, but also in other applications where the ability to withstand moisture is critical.  The oxygen barrier, mechanical properties, swelling behavior, and chemical uniformity of the films will be evaluated.


  • Green Materials, 2014, 2(4), 163-168.
  • Biomacromolecules, 2014, 15 (11), pp 4320–4325.
  • 2013 Patent Application WO2014153210A1, “Nano-cellulose edible coatings and the uses thereof”, Oregon State University.
  • 2008 Patent S8901290, “Method to control the dispersibility and barrier properties of dried nanocrystalline cellulose in solutions of different pH and ionic strength”, FP Innovations.
  • 2010 Patent US8652636, “Dried nanocrystalline cellulose of controllable dispersibility and method thereof”

Final application date: 15/1, 2019.

If you have any questions about the master thesis project, please contact Recruiting Manager Tiffany Abitbol, tel. 070 377 6036. Union representatives: Anna Jensen (Unionen), 08-676 72 23 and Elisabeth Sjöholm (Sveriges Ingenjörer), 08-676 74 44.

Master thesis, RISE, Bioeconomy, Stockholm, Nanocellulose, liquid packaging, exjobb, uppsats





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