Smith, Kathleen B.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Cellulose is a pervasive polymer, displaying hierarchical lengthscales and exceptional strength and stiffness. Cellulose's complex organization, however, also hinders the detailed understanding of the assembly, mesoscopic properties, and structure of individual cellulose building blocks. This study combines nanolithography with atomic force microscopy to unveil the properties and structure of single cellulose nanofibrils under weak geometrical confinement. By statistical analysis of the fibril morphology, it emerges that confinement induces both orientational ordering and self‐folding of the fibrils. Excluded volume simulations reveal that this effect does not arise from a fibril population bias applied by the confining slit, but rather that the fibril conformation itself changes under confinement, with self‐folding favoring fibril's free volume entropy. Moreover, a nonstochastics angular bending probability of the fibril kinks is measured, ruling out alternating amorphous–crystalline regions. These findings push forward the understanding of cellulose nanofibrils and may inspire the design of functional materials based on fibrous templates. Show more
Journal / seriesAdvanced Science
Pages / Article No.
Subjectalignment; cellulose nanofibrils; confinement; kink distribution; mesoscopic properties
Organisational unit03857 - Mezzenga, Raffaele / Mezzenga, Raffaele
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