The MatBio group develops researches in the field of production processes and final properties of bio-based materials with a multidisciplinary and integrated approach (from building block to the final material). The target materials are mainly fibrous materials such as paper and cardboard, non-wovens, felts, flexible films and bio- and nanocomposites. Several applications are targeted as special papers, materials for packaging, transportation, medical and construction. This team has a strong expertise in the procurement and implementation of building blocks from biomass, particularly cellulose and starch nanocrystals, and nano- and cellulose microfibrils. These particles, mainly extracted by lignocellulosic fibers, have morphological, physico-chemical and mechanical remarkable properties which give them a high potential as nano-reinforcements in bio- and nanocomposites, as thickener in coating sauces used in surface treatment or as gels for cosmetics, for example.
The MatBio group is also interested in new approaches of these lignocellulosic products functionalization, in particular to ensure the compatibility of these particles when they are mixed with polymers. The results of this researches are, among others, applied to food contact issues and interaction between container and content, especially for obtaining active and smart packaging. In parallel, works are being done on the development processes of materials: unit operations of paper and paperboard, manufacture, forming composites. In this context, the processes energy efficiency is an important theme that is based on pilots and instrumented benches (paper machines and refiners). With the acquisition in 2011 of a grinding pilot, an expertise has also been developed in the field of manufacturing of cellulose micro- and nanofibrils.
Finally, the impact of production processes on the materials final properties is an important focus. It draws on the skills and measurement tools for the characterization of fibers, cellulose micro- and nanofibrils, nanocrystals and bio-based materials (structural, mechanical and optical properties, barrier properties...) by attempting establish relations between the materials structure and their properties, including multi-scale approaches. In this context, the use of innovative tools such as X-ray tomography or the study of the materials topography are in full swing, as well as image processing methods (3D image analysis and techniques of stereo image correlation). This group has a very large number of experimental tools for the characterization of materials and manages a technical platform dedicated to imaging (environmental scanning electron microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, optical measurement of the topography, atomic force microscopy).