Project Summary

Consistent with the hypothesis that extreme environments drive the evolution of plants with unusual material properties, in 2012 we discovered that Australian arid spinifex grass is a unique source of flexible cellulose nanofibers (CNF) of very high yield, aspect ratio, ductility and toughness. With the aid of green deep eutectic solvents (DES), in 2016 we made the toughest, most formable “nanopaper” produced to date, as benchmarked in Figure below. This empirical finding requires the systematic exploration of fundamental mechanistic insights that underpin this distinct material property profile. The successful completion of this project will bring the potential of a paradigm shift surrounding the way nanopaper can be sustainably processed, enabling the use of rapid plastic manufacturing techniques such as vacuum forming and thermoforming to create a new generation of nanopaper-based materials of complex shapes.

Research Group

Martin Group


Spinifex, nanopaper

Patents and Publications

PCT Patent - D.J. Martin, N. Amiralian and P. A. Kumar, The University of Queensland, “Nanocellulose” – Priority Nov 22, 2013, PCT Nov 21, 2014 (WO/2015/074120)

Amiralian, Nasim, Annamalai, Pratheep K., Memmott, Paul and Martin, Darren J. (2015) Isolation of cellulose nanofibrils from Triodia pungens via different mechanical methodsCellulose22 4: 2483-2498. doi:10.1007/s10570-015-0688-x 

Project members

Lead Investigator

Dr Nasim Amiralian

Group Leader and Advance Queensland Research Fellow
Amiralian Group

Researchers Involved

Dr Pratheep Kumar Annamalai 

Advance QLD Research Fellow
Rowan Group
Spinifex postdoctoral researcher