Cellulose? Polymer? Carbon? A look into the different types of nanofibers!


In this article, I will explain the various types of nanofibers, their raw materials and characteristics. We will also provide an easy-to-understand explanation for those of you who “don’t know much about nanofibers,” so please take a look!

But what are actually the «nanofibers»?

Some of you may have arrived at this article and read it while searching for ” Nanofibers, something I have been hearing about from time to time lately, so let’s do a little research on them.” Other articles on this site explain nanofibers in more detail, but here is a brief explanation of nanofibers as well.

Positioning the nanofibers

Nanofibers are fibers. However, they are not just fibers, but rather “materials of the future” that are being researched and developed as “advanced materials” to support Japan’s future in the fields of IT, biotechnology, environment and energy, etc., due to the characteristics that occur when they are reduced to nano-size.

Definition of nanofibers

One nanometer (1 nm) is one billionth the length of one meter. A nanofiber is defined as “a fibrous material with a diameter of 1 nm to 100 nm and a length 100 times greater than its diameter. In simple terms, nanofibers are “ultrafine fibers” that are one-hundredth to one-thousandth the thickness of a hair.

See also here for more details!
Basic Knowledge of Nanofibers

Types of nanofibers

Now we will introduce three types of nanofibers

Polymer Nanofibers

Polypropylene and polyethylene terephthalate are the raw materials
may not be familiar with these materials, but they are the same ones used in plastic bags and PP string for packaging. Actually, research is underway to produce this polymer nanofiber by reusing waste plastic! Recently, in Japan, there has been an attempt to reduce waste by charging for plastic bags, but even so, there are high expectations for new ways to reuse this massively consumed material.

Polymer nanofibers are known for their high water repellency, and we have developed and commercialized “Nanofiber Mask ‘MIKOTO'” and “Oil Adsorbent ‘Wata-Poi'” using them.

Please take a look at these products as well!
About Ibuki Co., Ltd.

Celulose nanofibers

Cellulose nanofiber is a fiber made by finely unraveling the cellulose in wood and other plants down to nano-size. Since approximately 70% of Japan’s land area is forested, the development of cellulose nanofibers is being promoted by the national government as a cutting-edge sustainable and highly functional material that makes use of domestic biomass resources. Nanofibers have many characteristics such as high dimensional stability, solution thickening properties, and are one-fifth lighter and five times stronger than steel.

Potential applications include automotive parts, home appliances, plastic containers, and tires, due to its strong elasticity and strength. It is also expected to be used in various types of paints, as it can be added to paints to make them easier to apply and less prone to sagging.

Carbon Nanofibers

This is a hybrid fiber that is a cross between nanofiber and carbon fiber. It is said to be half as light as aluminum and 20 times stronger than steel. Expectations are so high that it may be used as a rope when a space elevator connecting outer space and the earth is built in the future, for example.


What do you think? In this article, we have introduced three typical types of nanofibers. Nanofibers can be combined with all kinds of materials due to their ultra-fine fiber material, and various products are being developed by effectively utilizing the three properties of “super specific surface area effect,” “nano size effect,” and “super molecular arrangement effect”.
If nanofibers permeate and spread throughout society, a near-future science fiction society may become a reality!
If you still want to know more about nanofibers, please take a look at our other articles!