Just How Small is Nanocellulose?

When we talk about wood at the nano-scale, or nanocellulose, it can be hard to imagine just how small these particles are compared to the towering trees they make up. This figure breaks it down visually, providing a better understanding of the size of nanocellulose.


Click photo to view a larger version in Flickr.

The prefix ‘nano’ means “one-billionth,” so a nanometer is one billionth of a meter. Need more? Here are some examples to help visualize just how tiny we’re talking:

  • A nanometer is one-millionth the thickness of an American dime.
  • A sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick
  • On a comparative scale, if the diameter of a marble were a nanometer, the diameter of the Earth would be a meter.
  • An average human hair is about 80,000 nanometers thick

And one more detail: One nanometer is about how long a fingernail grows in one second!

These and other fascinating nano facts can be found at www.nano.gov