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Rapid Determination of the Distribution of Cellulose Nanomaterial Aggregates in Composites Enabled by Multi-Channel Spectral Confocal Microscopy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682-689
Number of pages8
JournalMicroscopy and Microanalysis
Issue number3
Early online date6 May 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 3 Apr 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 6 May 2019
DatePublished (current) - 1 Jun 2019


There is increased interest in the use of cellulose nanomaterials for the mechanical reinforcement of composites due to their high stiffness and strength. However, challenges remain in accurately determining their distribution within composite microstructures. We report the use of a range of techniques used to image aggregates of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) greater than 10 μm2 within a model thermoplastic polymer. Whilst Raman imaging accurately determines CNC aggregate size, it requires extended periods of analysis and the limited observable area results in poor reproducibility. In contrast, staining the CNCs with a fluorophore enables rapid acquisition with high reproducibility, but overestimates the aggregate size as CNC content increases. Multi-channel spectral confocal laser scanning microscopy is presented as an alternative technique that combines the accuracy of Raman with the speed and reproducibility of conventional confocal laser scanning microscopy, enabling the rapid determination of CNC aggregate distribution within composites.

    Research areas

  • cellulose, nanomaterials, composites, confocal microscopy, spectral imaging, confocal Raman spectroscopy

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    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Cambridge University Press at . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 650 KB, PDF document


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