Press ReleasesNippon Paper Industries Succeeds in Practical Application of Cellulose Nanofiber by TEMPO Catalytic OxidationPlans to Develop Applications for Healthcare Business as a Functional Sheet with Deodorant & Antibacterial Functionality

Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd.

Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd. (President: Fumio Manoshiro; hereinafter referred to as "Nippon Paper Industries") has succeeded in the practical realization of functional sheets using cellulose nanofiber (CNF), which employs pulp that has been chemically processed by the TEMPO catalytic oxidation method (see Note 1) as its base material. These functional sheets possess various properties including catalytic, deodorant and antibacterial properties. As the first commercial productization, a group company Nippon Paper Crecia Co., Ltd. (President: Yasunori Nanri) plans to release healthcare products, for which growth of the demand is remarkable, in fall this year including the Poise® and Acty® series using a sheet containing a composition of CNF that possesses highly deodorant properties.

CNF is made from wood fiber (pulp) that has been defibrated to the nano scale level. Despite its lightweight, it exhibits outstanding characteristics such as follows. An elastic modulus is as high as that of aramid fiber (known as a high-strength fiber). Expansion and contraction due to temperature change is on par with glass. High barrier properties against oxygen and other gases. Another distinctive characteristic is that, as the material is derived from plant fibers, environmental impact in its production and disposal is low. Nippon Paper Industries installed equipment for validation and production of CNF (annual production capacity 30 tons / year) at its Iwakuni Mill (Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi Prefecture) in October 2013, manufacturing large amounts of samples and developing applications for use.

This time, Nippon Paper Industries has succeeded in manufacturing CNF in sheet form by blending/compounding and coating it to paper, paperboard, non-woven fabrics and films, making use of the special characteristic that?by chemical processing of CNF with the TEMPO catalytic oxidation method?it becomes easy to attach high concentrations of metal ions and metallic nanoparticles to the surface of CNF (Note 2). By changing the type of metal attached to the surface it is possible to give various characteristics and functions to these sheets, including catalytic, deodorant and antibacterial properties and other properties according to user's demand. In addition, as the sheets are composed of nanofiber, there is a large specific surface area available, therefore, they can effectively exhibit their functionality by adding only a small amount of active ingredient. Future development of further applications is highly anticipated.

The Nippon Paper Group is working to expand its area of business into fields that support people's lives through technological capabilities that highly utilizes renewable forest resources. The Group regards CNF as a new material that will be core to these efforts and, will continue to focus on further technological development such as, the swift establishment of mass-production technologies, and advancing the development of applications in a wide range of industrial fields.

  1. Note1:A chemical denaturation method for cellulose by TEMPO catalysis, developed by Professor Akira Isogai et al of the Department of Biomaterial Sciences, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences at The University of Tokyo. Using this method pulp is easily defibrated, and it is possible to obtain nanofiber with uniform width.
  2. Note2:A method of forming metallic nanoparticles on the surface of cellulose that has been chemically treated by the TEMPO catalytic oxidation method, developed by Professor Takuya Kitaoka et al of the Department of Agro-environmental Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Graduate School at Kyushu University.