Zeon has developed a proprietary ion-exchange and nanodispersion process for producing aqueous solutions of cellulose nanofibers modified for antimicrobial, deodorizing, and heat dissipation functionalities. The process, depicted in Figure 1, allows metal ion-exchange for functionalization of the fibers, while incorporating a nanofibrillation of the cellulose fibers, which amplifies the effect of the exchanged metal ions per unit mass. This means that a smaller amount of CNFs and metals can be used to produce the same effect as other metal-ion based antimicrobial, deodorizing, and heat dissipation solutions.
Zeon has begun to explore the application of these functionalized, well-dispersed, aqueous CNF solutions to (1) non-wovens designed for filtration applications, and (2) sheets/films designed for low-profile, lightweight heat dissipation in electronic devices, and perhaps electronic power modules used in automotive and communications applications. The process accommodates the metal ion-exchange of mono, di, and trivalent metal ions, which expands the range of potential application.
Zeon is incorporating this ion-exchange/nanofibrillation technology into several pre-commercial products directed to filtration and heat sink applications. Zeon is seeking sales and application-specific R&D partners, and is now preparing small evaluation samples for potential customers and development partners.
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