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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26482

Title: DIispersion of Cellulose Nanofibers in Biopolymer Based Nanocomposites
Authors: Wang, Bei
Advisor: Sain, Mohini
Department: Forestry
Keywords: nanocomposite
biopolymer
Issue Date: 8-Mar-2011
Abstract: The focus of this work was to understand the fundamental dispersion mechanism of cellulose based nanofibers in bionanocomposites. The cellulose nanofibers were extracted from soybean pod and hemp fibers by chemo-mechanical treatments. These are bundles of cellulose nanofibers with a diameter ranging between 50 to 100 nm and lengths of thousands of nanometers which results in very high aspect ratio. In combination with a suitable matrix polymer, cellulose nanofiber networks show considerable potential as an effective reinforcement for high quality specialty applications of bio-based nanocomposites. Cellulose fibrils have a high density of –OH groups on the surface, which have a tendency to form hydrogen bonds with adjacent fibrils, reducing interaction with the surrounding matrix. The use of nanofibers has been mostly restricted to water soluble polymers. This thesis is focused on synthesizing the nanocomposite using a solid phase matrix polypropylene (PP) or polyethylene (PE) by hot compression and poly (vinyl alcohol) (PVA) in an aqueous phase by film casting. The mechanical properties of nanofiber reinforced PVA film demonstrated a 4-5 fold increase in tensile strength, as compared to the untreated fiber-blend-PVA film. It is necessary to reduce the entanglement of the fibrils and improve their dispersion in the matrix by surface modification of fibers without deteriorating their reinforcing capability. Inverse gas chromatography (IGC) was used to explore how various surface treatments would change the dispersion component of surface energy and acid-base character of cellulose nanofibers and the effect of the incorporation of these modified nanofibers into a biopolymer matrix on the properties of their nano-composites. Poly (lactic acid) (PLA) and polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) based nanocomposites using cellulose nanofibers were prepared by extrusion, injection molding and hot compression. The IGC results indicated that styrene maleic anhydride coated and ethylene-acrylic acid coated fibers improved their potential to interact with both acidic and basic resins. From transmission electron micrograph, it was shown that the nanofibers were partially dispersed in the polymer matrix. The mechanical properties of the nanocomposites were lower than those predicted by theoretical calculations for both nanofiber reinforced biopolymers.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26482
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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