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Effect of density, phonon scattering and nanoporosity on the thermal conductivity of anisotropic cellulose nanocrystal foams

Varvara Apostolopoulou-Kalkavoura1*, Pierre Munier1*, Lukasz Dlugozima1, Veit-Lorenz Heuthe1, Lennart Bergström1*

1 Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

* Corresponding authors emails:,,
DOI10.24435/materialscloud:49-t3 [version v1]

Publication date: Feb 16, 2021

How to cite this record

Varvara Apostolopoulou-Kalkavoura, Pierre Munier, Lukasz Dlugozima, Veit-Lorenz Heuthe, Lennart Bergström, Effect of density, phonon scattering and nanoporosity on the thermal conductivity of anisotropic cellulose nanocrystal foams, Materials Cloud Archive 2021.33 (2021), doi: 10.24435/materialscloud:49-t3.


Ice templated anisotropic foams based on cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) with densities ranging between 25 to 129 kg.m-3 were prepared from aqueous CNC dispersions. The thermal conductivities perpendicular to the columnar macropores direction increased in a non-monotonous way with the increasing CNC foam density while the thermal conductivity reached a minimum value (24 mW m-1 K-1 at 20% RH and 295 K) for the CNC foam with the highest nanoporosity. Summation of the theoretical thermal conductivity calculations of the solid and gas conduction within the foams as well as the thermal conductivity of water showed that phonon scattering at the solid-solid interfaces is responsible for reaching very low thermal conductivity values. The foam wall nanoporosity, the particle alignment, the macropores orientation and the foam wall thickness seem to have a minimal effect on the thermal conductivity but can explain the deviations between the theoretical estimates and the experimental data. To this end the identification of the important influencing factors and the great importance of phonon scattering paves the way to design new fossil-free nanofibrillar foams with superinsulating properties.

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Journal reference
V. Apostolopoulou-Kalkavoura, P. Munier, L. Dlugozima, V.-L. Heuthe, L. Bergström (in preparation)


thermal conductivity cellulose nanomaterials moisture uptake foams cellulose nanocrystals

Version history:

2021.92 (version v2) Jun 24, 2021 DOI10.24435/materialscloud:2d-hv
2021.33 (version v1) [This version] Feb 16, 2021 DOI10.24435/materialscloud:49-t3