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Emily Cranston

Emily Cranston

Canada Research Chair in Bio-Based Nanomaterials

Tier 2: 2017-07-01


Department of Chemical Engineering | Cranston Research Group |

Research involves

Using biological components to develoenvironmentally friendly, high-performance and advanced materials from renewable resources like wood pulp with a focus on using nanocellulose. 

Research relevance

This research will overcome barriers in the application and commercialization of nanocellulose, and other bio-based nanomaterials, enabling widespread use in industries such as food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, packaging, paints, adhesives, and oil & gas. 

Tiny Changes have Big Implications

Cellulose, an organic compound found in all plants and wood, is the most abundant natural material on earth. In this work, nanocellulose in the form of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) is extracted from various forms of biomass.  

CNCs, a Canadian innovation, boast exceptional characteristics compared to other natural materials, such as high mechanical strength and chemical stability. The unique traits of these crystals make them ideal candidates for a variety of applications, from biomedical devices, batteries and food manufacturing to oil extraction – yet CNCs are seriously underused.  

Emily Cranston, Canada Research Chair in Bio-Based Nanomaterials, is a world-leader in the field of nanocellulose. Cranston is leading a complex set of projects to improve the usability of cellulose nanocrystals and open new avenues for the commercialization of sustainable nanomaterials. 

In addition to using industrial produced nanocellulose materials, Cranston produces her own CNCs using original pathways – this offers more flexibility in experiments and a broader range of crystal properties that can be achievedCranston and her team will improve the temperature resistance nanocellulose and test how CNCs react with other components and in solvents. She will also develop self-assembling CNC clusters for use in products like inks, bone scaffolds, water treatment, and creams and gels. 

Cranston’s innovative work will break boundaries in the development, application, and commercialization of cellulose nanocrystals. These technologies will improve human health and the environment while providing manufacturing and employment opportunities within Canada. CNCs will advance many strategic industries in Canada, ensuring that Canada remains at the forefront of CNC discoveries.