Thermally insulating and electroactive cellular nanocellulose composite cryogels from hybrid nanofiber networks

Yi Hu, Meilian Cao, Jianing Xu, Xueying Liu, Jiqing Lu, Jie Yan, Siqi Huan, Guangping Han*, Long Bai*, Wanli Cheng*, Orlando J. Rojas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)


Cellulose-based xerogels, cryogels and aerogels have been proposed to deliver the functions required by next-generation wearable electronics and energy materials. However, such systems often lack functionality and present limited mechanical resilience. Herein, we introduce a simple strategy to synthesize high-performance cryogels that combine cellulose and silica nanofibers that form ice-templated cellular architectures. Specifically, dual networks are produced by incorporating organic (cellulose) and inorganic (silica) nanofibers to form highly interconnected and vertically-aligned channels. Hence, ultralight structures (7.37 mg cm−3 in density and porosity of 99.37%) are produced with high mechanical strength, compressibility (dimensional recovery of up to 90%) and fatigue resistance (1000 loading cycles) along with low thermal conductivity (29.65 mW m−1K−1). Electrical responsiveness is supplemented by in situ polymerization of pyrrole, ensuing operation in a wide load range (0–18 kPa with sensitivity of 6.63 kPa−1 during > 1000 cycles). The obtained thermal insulating and electroactive materials are demonstrated for operation under extreme conditions (solvent and temperature). Overall, our dual network system provides a universal, multifunctional platform that can substitute state-of-the-art carbonized or carbon-based light-weight materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number140638
Number of pages10
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Early online date29 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Cellulose nanofiber
  • Cryogels
  • Electroactive materials
  • Sensors
  • Superelasticity
  • Thermal insulator


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