Morphological, physical, thermal, and mechanical properties of nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) were determined. Moisture content as well as oil absorption were also studied. The NCC was obtained from sulfuric acid hydrolysis of wood pulp. Transmission electron microscopy showed that NCC has a diameter of 10 nm and a length of 150 nm. Fourier transform–Raman spectroscopy and x-ray diffraction experiments both showed that NCC has a very high degree of crystallinity. Using an Abbe refractometer, the average refractive index of the NCC in different solvents was determined to be 1.499. Hardness and elastic modulus of the homogeneous, translucent NCC films were determined by nanoindentation technique. Oil absorption and moisture content were related to the particle size.

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Author notes

The authors are, respectively, Research Scientist, Research Scientist, and Group Leader, Value-Added Wood Products and Composite Products, FPInnovations, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada (,, This paper was received for publication in November 2010. Article no. 10-00062