Cellulose nanofibres for high value consumer products

Study level


Master of Philosophy

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Thomas Rainey
Senior Lecturer
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


There is a great degree of concern about the current use of fossil fuel resources to make consumer products. As an example many developing countries, such as Australia, are in the processing of banning single use plastic bags.

Meanwhile, there is a resurgence in interest in cellulose as a feedstock due to its environmental sustainability, biodegradability and performance in a range of consumer applications.

To this end, further processing of paper pulp produces cellulose nanofibres which are of significant interest in recent times. This avenue opens up new prospects for consumer products due to its unique performance behaviour.

Research activities

This research project will involve the following activities:

  1. Training in technoeconomics by coursework to look at the financial viability of several new processes for making consumer products from nanocellulos.
  2. Training in process simulation modelling by coursework to gain skills using commercial software (e.g. Aspen Plus).
  3. Experimenting to improve the quality of cellulose nanofibres and also their performance as a consumer product.
  4. Chemical and physical property testing using world class instruments.


We expect to develop new approaches to producing high-quality and cost-effective nanocellulose and to investigate new consumer products.

The outcomes will be either lower cost production methods or higher performance as a product (e.g. strength, appearance).

Skills and experience

You should be a chemical or process engineer with a Masters degree (international pool) or Bachelors degree (domestic pool).

Mechanical engineering and industrial engineering are also compatible backgrounds for this work.

Experience in the paper industry or paper science qualifications is highly regarded. Textile experience will also be valuable.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.