Deakin Research

Institute for Frontier Materials

Green Nanomaterials


Growing environmental awareness and government regulations have led to increased pressure on manufacturers and users of materials to consider the environmental impact of the products at all stages of the life cycle including manufacturing, recycling and disposal processes. This situation extends to nanotechnology. Our group has actively pursued the concept of green nanomaterials ahead of other research groups in Australia. Our initial research has demonstrated that naturally-occurring fibers, such as wool, hemp, silk and wood fibres as renewable raw materials, can be converted into nanoparticles and nanofibers using simple top-down methods without introducing hazardous chemicals. For example, protein nanoparticles of ~ 200 nm in diameter were produced from natural wool, and cellulose nanofibres of ~ 50 nm in diameter were also prepared from wood pulp. The methods thus developed will constitute the platform technology for the further investigation on the applications of nanomaterials of natural origin. The inherent biocompatible, biodegradable and carbon neutral nature of such green nanomaterials will be particularly advantageous in biomedical and environmental applications. Nanomaterials of natural origin will also provide positive environmental benefits due to the possibility of carbon-neutral disposal.

Cellulose nanofibres
Cellulose nanofibres produced from pulp
(image taken by Liyuan Zhang)
Protein nanoparticles
Protein nanoparticles produced from wool fibres
(image taken by Richa Rana)

Some key papers:


  • Takuya Tsuzuki, Xungai Wang, "Production of Green Nanomaterials", Proceedings of the International Conference on Nanosicence and Nanotechnology, 22-26 February 2010, Sydney, paper #484
  • Rangam Rajkhowa, Lijing Wang, Jagat Kanwar, Xungai Wang, "Fabrication of ultrafine powder from eri silk through attritor and jet milling", Powder Technology 191 (2009) 155-163

Environmental applications

  • Radhika Naik, Guiqing Wen, Dharmaprakash MS, Sabrina Hureau, Akira Uedono, Xungai Wang, Xin Liu, Peter G. Cookson, Suzanne V. Smith, "Metal Ion Binding Properties of Novel Wool Powders", Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 115 (2010) 1642-1650
  • Guiqing Wen, John .A. Rippon, Rex Brady, Xungai Wang, Xin Liu, Peter G. Cookson, "The characterization and chemical reactivity of powdered wool", Powder Technology 193 (2009) 200-207
  • Dharmaprakash MS, Rangam Rajkhowa, R. Naik,S. Huraeu, Lijing Wang, Suzanne V Smith, "Heavy metal absorption properties of silk powders using radiotracers", Proceedings of the NRC7 - 7th International Conference on Nuclear and Radiochemistry, Budapest, Hungary 24-29 August 2008

Biomedical applications

  • R. Rajkhowa, T. Tsuzuki, X. Wang (2011) "Recent Innovations in Silk Biomaterials", Journal of Fiber Bioengineering and Informatics, TEXTILE BIOENGINEERING AND INFORMATICS SYMPOSIUM PROCEEDINGS, VOLS 1-3: 583-593 2010.

Engineering applications

  • L. Zhang, T. Tsuzuki, X. Wang, (2010) "Preparation and Characterization on Cellulose Nanofiber Film", Materials Science Forum Vols. 654-656, pp 1760-1763.

Deakin University acknowledges the traditional land owners of present campus sites.

19th February 2012