Mild oxalic-acid-catalyzed hydrolysis as a novel approach to prepare cellulose nanocrystals

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Wenyang Xu, Henrik Grénman, Jun Liu, Dennis Kronlund, Bin Li, Peter Backman, Jouko Peltonen, Stefan Willför, Anna Sundberg, Chunlin Xu
Publication year: 2017
Journal: Chemnanomat
Volume number: 3
Issue number: 2
Start page: 109
End page: 119
eISSN: 2199-692X


The traditional method to isolate cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) is to subject cellulosic materials to strong acid hydrolysis by mineral acids, which usually causes problems such as corrosion of equipment, the need for large amounts of water, the difficulty of acid recovery, and over-degradation of cellulose. Thus, a green and sustainable approach for the preparation of CNCs was developed where mild acid hydrolysis with diluted oxalic acid was used. The reaction kinetics of different preparation parameters, such as reaction temperature, oxalic acid dose, addition of HCl, and reaction time were thoroughly investigated. A high yield of up to 85 % was achieved by mild oxalic acid hydrolysis in comparison to the yield of 35 % using the most common approach with sulfuric acid hydrolysis. The CNCs from the above approach have a high thermal stability, that is, a maximum thermal degradation temperature of 350 °C in comparison to 200 °C when sulfuric acid hydrolysis was used. Importantly, oxalic acid solutions were readily recovered, and exhibited consistently high performance in several continuous runs of reaction. The hydrolysates contained mostly monomeric sugars, which could be further utilized for chemical or biofuel production.


Last updated on 2020-08-07 at 06:13