Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems

Materials Chemistry of Cellulose

The distinct emphasis of the group led by Prof. Eero Kontturi is set on interfacial phenomena: one of the main lines of research involves observing and manipulating cellulosic materials in confined 2D space by using a surface science approach. Basically, this means performing research on cellulose-based entities on a very flat surface. The impetus for such research is provided by the vast diversity of functional materials that can be manufactured from 2D constructions, such as sensors and optoelectronic devices.
HCI based disintegration

Research themes:

1. Plant cell wall polymers in 2D

Focus is on building morphologically distinct 2-dimensional structures from well-defined cell wall components, such as cellulose nanocrystals or amorphous polysaccharides. The structures can be positioned on a flat, smooth surface to provide means for observing fundamental interactions between plant cell components when confined in 2D space. The results can also be applied to utilizing interfacial phenomena in more realistic materials like plant-based fibres where, for example, adsorbing elements are used to perform certain tasks on the fibre surface.

2. Cellulose-inorganic hybrids: new family of thin films for energy materials

This effort centres around building thin films from cellulose-based and inorganic materials. Electrical and thermal conductivity as well as optical properties of the films are under particular scrutiny and the application targets are therefore set in energy materials, such as thermoelectric devices. Our group’s wide-ranging knowledge on manufacturing various kinds of cellulose and cellulose derivative films are utilized in tuning the desired film properties. This is a consortium with VTT High Performance Fibre Products and an integral collaboration with Inorganic Chemistry group at Aalto.

3. Towards realistic, green, and low-cost production of cellulose nanocrystals

This project aims <strong>at overcoming or circumventing the bottlenecks in cellulose nanocrystal production. Instead of the conventional liquid acid / solid fibre system, a gas/solid system is applied in a custom-built reactor. Various ways of dispersing the nanocrystals from a hydrolyzed fibre matrix are at the centre of this effort. The concept report on the industrial feasibility of the gaseous HCl hydrolysis method can be found here.


Meet the team:


Professor Eero Kontturi, Head of the research team


Materials Chemistry of Cellulose
Department of Biotechnology and Chemical Technology
Aalto University,  Espoo, Finland

[email protected]




Group members' biographies: PostDocs

Group members' biographies: PhD students

Related content:

Funding for partnership networks in research, development and innovation

The Academy of Finland funding to Aalto University supports the development of nanocellulose-based scaffolds as well as the knowledge base and operating methods of the circular economy.

Vaaleanpunertavia ja läpikuultavia nanoselluloosa- ja agaroosikiteitä laboratoriomaljassa. Kuva Valeria Azovskaya

Eero Kontturi: The most important skill for a researcher is the desire to read and write

Professor of Materials Chemistry of Cellulose relaxes by reading scientific articles and makes no distinction between work and free time.

Eero Kontturi. Kuva: Lasse Lecklin / Aalto-yliopisto

Eero Kontturi appointed Associate Professor in the School of Chemical Engineering

Professor Kontturi’s field of research is Materials Chemistry of Cellulose.

Eero Kontturi. Kuva: Lasse Lecklin / Aalto-yliopisto

Awards and honours for professors of the School of Chemical Engineering

Prof. Orlando Rojas, Prof. Patrick Gane and Prof. Eero Kontturi of the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems, have been acknowledged for their significant work.

Latest publications:

Solid-state polymer adsorption for surface modification: The role of molecular weight

Wenyang Xu, Karl Mihhels, Nikolay Kotov, Sakari Lepikko, Robin H.A. Ras, C. Magnus Johnson, Torbjörn Pettersson, Eero Kontturi 2022 Journal of Colloid and Interface Science

Film thickness limits of a buckling-based method to determine mechanical properties of polymer coatings

Elina Niinivaara, Johanna Desmaisons, Alain Dufresne, Julien Bras, Emily D. Cranston 2021 Journal of Colloid and Interface Science

Surface hydrophobization of pulp fibers in paper sheets via gas phase reactions

Philipp Wulz, Carina Waldner, Sarah Krainer, Eero Kontturi, Ulrich Hirn, Stefan Spirk 2021 International Journal of Biological Macromolecules

Grow it yourself composites: delignification and hybridisation of lignocellulosic material using animals and fungi

Kathrin Weiland, Mitchell P. Jones, Felix Zinsser, Eero Kontturi, Andreas Mautner, Alexander Bismarck 2021 Green Chemistry

Excellence in Excrements: Upcycling of Herbivore Manure into Nanocellulose and Biogas

Kathrin Weiland, Bernhard Wlcek, Theresa Krexner, Iris Kral, Eero Kontturi, Andreas Mautner, Alexander Bauer, Alexander Bismarck 2021 ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering

Visualizing Degradation of Cellulose Nanofibers by Acid Hydrolysis

Panagiotis Spiliopoulos, Stefan Spirk, Timo Pääkkönen, Mira Viljanen, Kirsi Svedström, Leena Pitkänen, Muhammad Awais, Eero Kontturi 2021 Biomacromolecules

Benchmarking Cellulose Nanocrystals Part II

Gwendoline Delepierre, Oriana M. Vanderfleet, Elina Niinivaara, Behzad Zakani, Emily D. Cranston 2021 Langmuir

Directed Assembly of Cellulose Nanocrystals in Their Native Solid-State Template of a Processed Fiber Cell Wall

Iina Solala, Carlos Driemeier, Andreas Mautner, Paavo A. Penttilä, Jani Seitsonen, Miika Leppänen, Karl Mihhels, Eero Kontturi 2021 Macromolecular Rapid Communications

Nanocellulose-based mechanically stable immobilization matrix for enhanced ethylene production

V. Rissanen, S. Vajravel, S. Kosourov, Suvi Arola, E. Kontturi, Y. Allahverdiyeva, T. Tammelin 2021 Green Chemistry
More information on our research in the Research database.
Research database
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