Networked Cellulose Preparation, Characterization, and Applications in Pharmaceutical Formulation and Biofuel Production

  • Hatem Abushammala

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Cellulose is the Earth's most abundant biopolymer. It can be obtained from various resources such as biomass and urbane waste. Cellulose was processed to prepare networked cellulose (NC). High-yield NC gel material was prepared by dissolution of cellulose followed by regeneration in ethanol. X-ray diffraction data and transmission electron microscopy images revealed that the NC structure is networked and has mainly an amorphous phase with a crystalline portion characteristic of cellulose II. The material showed significant shrinkability upon drying and improved hardness. Hardness measured via nanoindentation was 801 Pa with an elastic modulus of 9.9 GPa. A novel fabrication method was developed to utilize the NC material as a multifunctional excipient for tablet production. Tablets were prepared by slip-casting of simple formulas of NC and cellulose, with Paracetamol as the active ingredient. The prepared tablets showed interesting controlled hardness and drug delivery properties, which were mainly dependent on NC concentration. The NC material was also studied as starting material for biofuel production. NC showed improved enzymatic hydrolysis rate because of the enhanced enzyme accessibility. It had conversion of 72.8% (wt.%) into glucose compared to 33.7% for untreated cellulose in 48 hours. To further increase the enzymatic accessibility, NC was co-regenerated in the presence of Titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles. Scanning electron microscope images revealed that TiO2 particles helped in opening up cellulose structure through the co-regeneration process. The measured rates of hydrolysis showed that TiO2 inclusion significantly improved the enzymatic hydrolysis. Notably, 92.3% conversion of cellulose to glucose was achieved at a 33% (wt.%) TiO2.
Date of AwardDec 2011
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorRaed Hashaikeh (Supervisor)


  • Cellulose-Biotechnology
  • Cellulose-Chemistry

Cite this