Silicon Nanoparticle and Cellulose Nanocrystal Reinforced Polymer Composites
Cellulose and Silicon are two of the most abundant natural materials in the world, thus it is only “natural” to combine the two materials. Specifically, cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) have been attractive sustainable additives for the mechanical reinforcement of polymers and silicon can be easily converted to silicon nanoparticles (SiNPs) for use in biosensing, coatings, and used as quantum dots in optical films, and medical and display applications. By harnessing the mechanical advantage of CNCs and SiNPs with the sensing and luminescent properties of silicon quantum dots (SiQDs), the possibility for advanced functional materials is extensive. This project aims to develop CNC-SiNP and SiQD polymer hybrid materials. The project will include the development of additive materials using functionalized CNCs with SiNPs and SiQDs. Potential product developments include sensors for medicine and agriculture, stronger tubing for pipelines, and enhanced textiles. More importantly, this project takes advantage of two materials that are manufactured in Canada, specifically Alberta. By showcasing the advantages of using sustainable materials to Canadians, we can help boost the Canadian forestry industry and create more robust and durable materials.