Seminar Series

Cellulose Nanocrystal-a promising sustainable nanomaterial for advanced engineering applications


Michael K.C. Tam


Department of Chemical Engineering and Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology,University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave West, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1

Time & Place

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 11:00:00 NZST in West 531

All are welcome


Nanotechnology is anticipated to be the next technological wave that will drive many of the innovations in science and engineering. In this discipline, there is a renewed impetus to develop nanomaterials from renewable sources due to the negative impact of using raw materials from traditional carbon sources, such as crude oil. New opportunities in the use of sustainable and renewable material for various advanced engineering applications exist, and cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) offers a new route to product development and formulations in these industrial sectors. The talk will focus on the important role CNC functionalization plays in imparting attractive properties that are critical for their applications. I will discuss the physical interactions between CNC and various amphiphilic compounds, and how these interactions impact their stability and microstructure. In order to fully elucidate the microstructural evolution of CNC/surfactant interactions, rapid and robust characterization techniques for quantifying the evolving molecular structure were used to elucidate their morphologies and microstructure. Various functionalization strategies on the surface of CNC, such as with amphiphilic polymers, inorganic and metallic nanoparticles was developed and exploited for applications in Pickering emulsions, anti-microbial systems, engineered food systems, water treatment and sustainable catalysts. I will end my presentation with some comments on the future directions and new opportunities of CNC in other related market sectors.


Michael Tam obtained his B.Eng. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical engineering from Monash University, Australia in 1982 and 1991 respectively. He spent 18 months on a postdoctoral fellowship at the Department of Chemical Engineering, McMaster University Canada, and subsequently taught at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore for 15 years. In June 2007 he joined the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Waterloo as a tenured full professor, and holds the position of University Research Chair in the field of functional colloids and sustainable nanomaterials. He is an active member of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology. His research interests are in colloids, self-assembly systems, polymer-surfactant interactions, and drug delivery systems. He has published more than 300 journal articles in various fields of polymer science and engineering. His total citation exceeds 12,000 and his H-index is 60. He is also an associate editor of ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.