University of Oulu

Geng, S., Wei, J., Aitomäki, Y., Noël, M., Oksman, K. (2018) Well-dispersed cellulose nanocrystals in hydrophobic polymers by in situ polymerization for synthesizing highly reinforced bio-nanocomposites. Nanoscale, 10 (25), 11797-11807. doi:10.1039/c7nr09080c

Well-dispersed cellulose nanocrystals in hydrophobic polymers by in situ polymerization for synthesizing highly reinforced bio-nanocomposites

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Author: Geng, Shiyu1; Wei, Jiayuan1; Aitomäki, Yvonne1;
Organizations: 1Division of Materials Science, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden
2Fibre and Particle Engineering, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 6.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Royal Society of Chemistry, 2018
Publish Date: 2019-03-06


In nanocomposites, dispersing hydrophilic nanomaterials in a hydrophobic matrix using simple and environmentally friendly methods remains challenging. Herein, we report a method based on in situ polymerization to synthesize nanocomposites of well-dispersed cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) and poly(vinyl acetate) (PVAc). We have also shown that by blending this PVAc/CNC nanocomposite with poly(lactic acid) (PLA), a good dispersion of the CNCs can be reached in PLA. The outstanding dispersion of CNCs in both PVAc and PLA/PVAc matrices was shown by different microscopy techniques and was further supported by the mechanical and rheological properties of the composites. The in situ PVAc/CNC nanocomposites exhibit enhanced mechanical properties compared to the materials produced by mechanical mixing, and a theoretical model based on the interphase effect and dispersion that reflects this behavior was developed. Comparison of the rheological and thermal behaviors of the mixed and in situ PVAc/CNC also confirmed the great improvement in the dispersion of nanocellulose in the latter. Furthermore, a synergistic effect was observed with only 0.1 wt% CNCs when the in situ PVAc/CNC was blended with PLA, as demonstrated by significant increases in elastic modulus, yield strength, elongation to break and glass transition temperature compared to the PLA/PVAc only material.

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Series: Nanoscale
ISSN: 2040-3364
ISSN-E: 2040-3372
ISSN-L: 2040-3364
Volume: 10
Issue: 25
Pages: 11797 - 11807
DOI: 10.1039/c7nr09080c
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 216 Materials engineering
Funding: The authors thank [...] financial support from Knut och Alice Wallenberg Stiftelsen (WWSC), SNS Nordic Forest Research (WOOD-PRO), Bio4Energy and Kempe Foundation.
Dataset Reference: Supplementary information:
Copyright information: This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2018. Open Access Article. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence.