Seong Kim

Electroactive Property of Nanocellulosic Materials

This study is concerned with the fundamental understanding needed to develop a new class of low-density flexible piezoelectric materials for advanced sensing, actuation, and energy storage. We propose to elucidate intrinsic electroactive properties of nanocellulose by experimentally studying its structure-piezoelectricity relationship. This task requires judiciously manipulating dipoles of individual cellulose nanocrystals to produce polar ordering at the macroscale and accurately characterizing the nano-to-mesoscale structural ordering and electromechanical properties of the produced materials. Although the piezoelectricity of cellulose has been predicted from its noncentrosymmetric crystal structure, it has not been measured accurately nor has cellulose been exploited as a piezoelectric material. A key obstacle is that nanoscale piezoelectric properties of individual crystals cancel each other when cellulose crystals are extracted and dispersed randomly or when they are assembled into simple uniaxial or lamellar structures, which usually results in overall antiparallel packing. Overcoming this significant obstacle will accelerate the realization of a variety of high-tech applications of nanocellulose as low-density piezoelectric materials. Of significance is the extremely low dielectric permittivity, low density and high thermal stability of nanocellulosic materials, which are critically important for device functionality.

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Contact Information

Esther Gomez, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering
REU Program Coordinator

Manish Kumar, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering
REU Program Coordinator

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