Second from left: Associate Professor Jun Araki

Associate Professor Jun Araki of Shinshu University Faculty of Textile Science and Technology Functional Polymer Science Course won the Cellulose Society of Japan Progress Award for 2014 at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Cellulose Society of Japan, which was held on July 9 and 10 at Hokkaido University Conference Hall. The title of the winning research is “Dispersion stabilization of cellulose and chitin nanowhiskers by surface modification and creation of nanocomposite materials” This prize is awarded by the Cellulose Society to young members who have conducted creative and outstanding research on cellulose or other related substances, and who are expected to make developments in the future.

Associate Professor Araki has conducted a wide range of research on colloidal suspensions of nano -sized microfibrils called “nanowhiskers,” which are obtained by acid hydrolysis of highly crystalline polysaccharides such as native cellulose and chitin. In particular, he has devised a number of methods for the dispersion stabilization of nanowhisker suspensions by introducing different types of charge groups to the surface of nanowhiskers using surface modification, and by chemical surface grafting of polymer chains. Furthermore, using these nanowhiskers as a reinforcing fillers, he has prepared a number of new composite materials, such as hydrogels and uniaxially oriented fibers with an increased Young’s modulus and tensile strength. Associate Professor Araki received this price as a result of this series of research achievements.