Dr Pratheep Kumar Annamalai

Advance QLD Research Fellow (Mid)

Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
+61 7 344 31303


Dr. Pratheep Annamalai is a polymer and nanomaterials scientist with a keen interest in engineering materials for sustainable living. He is an Advance Queensland Research Fellow at the AIBN-UQ working in the areas of 'Polymers and Nanotechnology’. He has extensive expertise in both translational and fundamental research using nanotechnological tools towards sustainability. Currently, he is interested in valorisation of native (spinifex grass) and alternative feedstock into reactive, nanoscale building blocks for improving the performance and utility of materials for infrastructure, agriculture, and food. Thematically, his research focuses on

  • Bioproducts (from lignin and cellulose)
  • Nano-enabled construction materials (cement, mortar, concrete, and bitumen)
  • Engineered polymers (elastomers, carbon fibre),and
  • Insulation materials (rigid polyurethane foam, lignocellulose).

He also contributes to teaching and learning in the areas of polymers, materials engineering, and nanotechnology applications in food, civil engineering, and sustainability.

Before joining UQ, Pratheep studied Chemistry in University of Madras, received PhD in Chemistry from University of Pune (India), then went on to work as a postdoctoral researcher on hydrophobic membranes at the Université Montpellier II (France), and on ‘stimuli-responsive smart materials’ at the Adolphe Merkle Institute - Université de Fribourg (Switzerland).

Upon being instrumental in the discovery of ‘spinifex nanofibre nanotechnology’ and establishing Australia’s first nanocellulose pilot-plant, he has been awarded UQ Excellence awards for leadership and industry partnerships for 2019. Recognising his contribution to the nanomaterials, polymer nanocomposites, polymer degradation and stabilisation regionally and globally, he has been invited to serve as a committee member for ISO/TC229-WG2 for characterisation of nanomaterials (2016), a mentor in TAPPI mentoring program (2018), guest/academic editor for various journals (Fibres, Int. J Polymer Science, PLOS One). He has served as a member of the UQ-LNR ethics committee for reviewing the applications (2017-) and a member of the AIBN-ECR committee in 2014

Research Interests

  • Engineered Insulation Materials
    * The use of lignocellulose biomass and natural oils in insulation foams * Engineering the microstructure of foam for improving performance
  • Engineered Polymers
    * Spinifex based advanced materials * Nanocellulose from non-wood sources, fundamentals, and applications * Elastomers and gels * Lignocellulose carbon precursors (fibre and anode material) * Chemically engineering polyethylene for carbon fibre (UQ-Dow project: 2014-2015)
  • Nano-enabled Construction Materials
    * Nanoparticles for improving performance, durability, and sustainability of cementitious materials (cement, mortar, concrete, and geopolymer) * Nano-modified and polymer-modified bituminous materials
  • Polymer Nanocomposites
    Clay reinforced polymer nanocomposites (for TenasiTech Pty Ltd) Polyurethanes: insulation foams, barrier sheets, golf balls and durable seals Acrylics: Anti-scratch materials
  • Other consultative interests
    Spectroscopic, chromatographic and morphological analysis, Thermal and mechanical properties measurements

Research Impacts

Spinifex nanofibre nanotechnology The spinifex nanofibre nanotechnology has led to: 1) the benefit-sharing landmark agreement between Indigenous Australian community and UQ in 2015 ensuring the ongoing equity and involvement of their indigenous community in the project, 2) establishment of first nanocellulose pilot-scale plant in UQ Long Pocket Precinct with a 5kg/day production capacity by the support of both state and federal governments, and 3) promotion of the systematic harvesting of spinifex grass in regional Australia potentially providing training, jobs, and education in regional Australia, aligning with the major effort 'Closing the gap' by government. Over last seven years, this partnership has single-mindedly supported further R&D for utilising it as renewable functional additive for improving strength and durability of a wide range of materials spanning from rubber, recycled papers to building materials like cement and concrete.

Industry engagement

  • Dugalanji Aboriginal Corporation
  • Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR)
  • Australian Road Research Board
  • Dow Chemicals USA (polyethylene)
  • TenasiTech Pty Ltd (Nanoclay Nanotech)


  • Polyurethane-Cellulose nanocrystals nanocomposites based Shape Memory Effect had become the thrust of further research and funding.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Pune
  • Master of Science, University of Madras
  • Bachelor of Science, University of Madras


View all Publications


  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

View all Available Projects


Featured Publications


Book Chapter

  • Pennells, Jordan, Martin, Darren J. and Annamalai, Pratheep Kumar (2022). Nanocellulose: a sustainable nanomaterial for controlled drug delivery applications. Innovation in nano-polysaccharides for eco-sustainability: from science to industrial applications. (pp. 217-253) edited by Preeti Singh, Kaiser Manzoor, Saiqa Ikram and Pratheep Kumar Annamalai. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/b978-0-12-823439-6.00010-6

  • Ramanujam, B. T. S, Nanjundan, Ashok Kumar and Annamalai, Pratheep Kumar (2020). Nanocellulose-based carbon as electrode materials for sodium-ion batteries. Nanocellulose based composites for electronics: micro and nano technologies. (pp. 295-312) edited by Yasir Beeran Pottathara and Sabu Thomas. Oxford, United Kingdom: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-822350-5.00012-6

  • Ramanujam, B. T. S. and Annamalai, Pratheep K. (2017). Conducting polymer-graphite binary and hybrid composites: structure, properties, and applications. Hybrid polymer composite materials applications. (pp. 1-34) edited by Vijay Kumar Thakur, Manju Kumari Thakur and Asokan Pappu. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Woodhead. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-08-100785-3.00001-2

  • Annamalai, Pratheep K. and Depan, Dilip (2015). Nano-cellulose reinforced chitosan nanocomposites for packaging and biomedical applications. Green biorenewable biocomposites: from knowledge to industrial applications. (pp. 489-506) edited by Vijay Kumar Thakur and Michael R. Kessler. Boca Raton, FL, United States: CRC Press/Apple Academic Press.

  • Jorfi, Mehdi, Annamalai, Pratheep K. and Weder, Christoph (2014). Preparation of cellulose nanocrystal/polymer nanocomposites via sol-gel processes. Handbook of green materials: processing technologies, properties and applications. (pp. 23-34) edited by Kristiina Oksman, Aji P. Mathew, Alexander Bismarck, Orlando Rojas and Mohini Sain. Singapore, Singapore: World Scientific Publishing.

  • Jorfi, Mehdi, Amiralian, Nasim, Biyani, Mahesh V. and Annamalai, Pratheep K. (2013). Biopolymeric nanocomposites reinforced with nanocrystalline cellulose. Biomass-based biocomposites. (pp. 277-304) Shrewsbury, Shropshire, United Kingdom: Smithers Rapra Technology.

  • Annamalai, P.K. and Singh, R.P. (2011). Biopolymeric nanocomposites as environment benign materials. Cellulose Fibers: Bio- and Nano-Polymer Composites. (pp. 519-535) edited by Susheel Kalia, B. S. Kaith and Inderjeet Kaur. Verlag, Germany: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-17370-7_20

  • Lonkar, S.P., Kumar, A.P. and Singh, R.P. (2011). Commercial aspects associated with bionanocomposites. Nanocomposites with Biodegradable Polymers: Synthesis, Properties and Future Perspectives. (pp. 400-419) edited by Vikas Mittal. Oxford UK: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199581924.003.0016

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.