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Cellulose

By: Edel Kerins, Joanne Moran and Marc Falconer

What is cellulose?

Cellulose (C6H10O5)n is a long-chain polysaccharide


carbohydrate, of beta-glucose.
It forms the primary structural component of plants and is
not digestible by humans

Structure of Cellulose

History

Cellulose is the most abundant naturally occurring organic


substance
Being found as the principal component of cell walls in
higher plants where it provides the main structural feature.
It was first noted as such in 1838 by Anselm Payen.
It occurs in almost pure form in cotton fibre at 98% in
combination with lignin and hemicellulose.
Cellulose is the most abundant form of living terrestrial
biomass.

Applications

Cellulose is processed to make cellophane and rayon and


more recently Modal- a textile derived from beech wood
cellulose.
Cellulose is also used within the laboratory as a solid-state
substrate for thin layer chromatography.
Cellulose is a major constituent of paper.

Derivatives

The hydroxyl groups of cellulose can be partially or fully


reacted with various chemicals to provide derivatives with
useful properties.
They have the general formula Cellulose-O-R where the
oxygen can be any of the cellulose hydroxyls.
Cellulose esters and cellulose ethers are the most important
commercial materials.
Among the esters are cellulose acetate and triacetate,
which are film and film forming materials.

Uses of Cellulose

Cellulose has many uses such as the following.


anticake agents
Emulsifier
Stabiliser
Dispersing agent
Thickener
Gelling agent
Most important use is of holding on to water

Treatments of Cellulose

Industries of all kinds- food processing, forest products and pulp


and paper, face major problems with disposal of wastes derived
from plant material.
Cellulose comprises nearly half the dry weight of most plant
material.
Carbon fiber has been described as a fiber containing at least
90% carbon obtained by the controlled pyrolysis of appropriate
fibers.
The Term graphite fiber is used to describe fibers that have
carbon in excess of 99%.
Large varieties of fibers called precursors are used to produce
carbon fibers of different morphologies and different specific
characteristics.
The most prevalent precursors are ployacrylonitrile, cellulosic
fibers petroleum or coal tar pitch and certain phenolic fibers.

Treatment of cellulose

1.
2.
3.

Carbon fibers are manufactured by the controlled pyrolysis


of organic precursors in fibrous form.
It is a heat treatment of the precursor that removes the
oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen to form carbon fibers.
There are three successive stages in the conversion of PAN
precursor into high- performance carbon fibers.

Oxidative Stabilisation
Carbonisation
Graphitisation

Pre-treatment of fermentable CHO


products for bioethanol production

Physical and chemical pre-treatment of cellulose


It is necessary for hydrolysis and fermentation steps to
occur for bioethanol production.
Pre-treatment processes are normally applied on different
substrates.
Acidic hydrolysis
Steam explosion
Wet oxidation

Pre-treatment of fermentable CHO


products for bioethanol production

One problem associated with pre-treatment methods is the


generation of certain compounds that are inhibitory
towards micro organisms
Degradation problems associated with later fermentation
can be avoided by wet oxidation.
A project underway in co-operation with Elsam, an
industrial partner is to develop hydrothermal treatment of
wheat straw on a pilot plant scale.
The main objective of the project is to pre-treat plant fibre
biomass.

Pre-treatment of fermentable CHO


products for bioethanol production

Co- Combustion of coal and straw

Enzymatic convertibility of cellulose

The first aim is to evaluate grass clover as feedstock


material for fermentation.

Environmental Benefits of cellulose


conversions

Biodiesel is a clean burning alternative fuel.


It is made by chemically combining any natural oil or fat
with an alcohol.
This process is known as transesterification
Products produced from this process are:
*Methyl soyate
*glycerine

Current biodiesel market are mass transit, marine and other


environmentally sensitive areas such as mines.

Ethanol

It reduces smog and green house gas emissions.

It contains 35% oxygen.

It does not contain sulphur

Environmental benefits increase as biodiesel and cellulose


ethanol grow. E.g. Renewable fuel in Ontario.

Cellulose insulation

Made from recycled wood fiber, primarily newspaper


Waste paper is a major source of the waste stream
Reducing the amount of paper that ends up in landfill
When you choose cellulose insulation it reduces the major
problem of solid waste disposal.
The main advantages:
Saves more energy
Makes home safer
Fills existing walls with fewer voids and stops air in filtration
better

Utilization of Cellulose and


examples of cellulose based
products.
Cellulose is the major
constituent of Cotton (98%)and

Wood(40-50%).Cotton and wool are the major reservoirs


for all cellulose products such as paper, textiles and
construction materials.
The Paper production industry is of great economic
significance to the world, is a multi-billion dollar concern
and relies on the manipulation of the chemical properties of
cellulose.
The Textile industry is of great economic significance and
relies heavily on cellulose both for natural and synthetic
fibres.
The construction industry also utilizes cellulose in products
i.e. Carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRPs) and cellulose
insulation.

Cellulose based Products

Cellulose nitrate. This was the first successful plastic. It was


invented in 1869 by Alexander Parkes. It is used in making
toilet pieces and other industrial items.
Cellulose acetate. It is used in making packaging materials,
toys, tools etc. It is the cheapest raw material produced.
Ethyl cellulose. This is produced by treating alkali cellulose
with either ethyl chloride or ethyl sulphate. It is used in
flashlight cases and electrical appliance parts. It is the
lightest and most expensive of the cellulosics.
Methyl cellulose. Is non toxic and is a weak adhesive. In its
pure state it is used for cleaning the spines of books. It
works as an excellent solvent of hide glue and some
modern adhesives.

Additional Cellulose based


products

Microcrystalline Cellulose (MCC). This is basically refined


cellulose with the amorphous region and impurities
removed.
Hydroxypropyl Methyl Cellulose. This is the end product of
a chemical treatment of cellulose. Can be used as an
emulsifier, gelling agent, thickener, among other things.
Rayon. This is formed by chemical and pressure treating
wood pulp. It was commercially produced for first time in
1884 for use as a textile. It is a very useful fibre.

Some photos of Cellulose


based products.

Ethyl Cellulose powder

Methyl cellulose
powder

Ethyl cellulose
(finished products)

Antique nitro
cellulose based
shaving kit

Microbial Cellulose: A new


resource for wood, paper, textiles
andCellulose?
food products
What is Microbial

Cellulose which is formed by an advanced purple bacterium


such as Acetobacter xylinum.
How is it formed?
The production of glucose molecules by individual
Acetobacter cells. Each cell can produce 108 glucose
molecules per hour. The end product is a bundle of submicroscopic fibrils, this mesh produces a pellicle which
cements the mesh together. Pure cellulose is the result.
What could it be used for? Microbial cellulose has two great
properties. It is very strong in the never dried state and
hold hundreds of times its own weight in water.
What is the future for Microbial Cellulose?

Cellulose and the


Environment

Cellulose and the Carbon


cycle.
Cellulose can be imagined
as giant carbon sink.
Carbon incorporated in
cellulose can remain there
for a long time.
Cellulose in the oceans.
The majority of cellulose in
the oceans is produced by
unicellular algae or
plankton.

Unicellular plankton

Cellulose and the Environment


continued.

How we can improve the


environment by improving
our utilization of waste
cellulose and developing
products based on waste
cellulose as alternatives.
What efforts need to be
taken in order to use the
resources of waste
cellulose more effectively
and thus improve the
global environment.
Conclusions.
Right hand side: Photo of
deforestation in Amazon
basin