5 years ago

Polymer nanocomposites with cellulose nanocrystals made by co-precipitation

Polymer nanocomposites with cellulose nanocrystals made by co-precipitation
Justin O. Zoppe, Christoph Weder, Anuja Shirole, Jens C. Natterodt, Janak Sapkota
A premixing method to produce polymer nanocomposites with cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) is reported. This method involves the dissolution and dispersion of a polymer and CNCs in an organic solvent, co-precipitation into water, drying of the resulting particles, and subsequent melt processing. The key aspect of the method is that it allows the kinetic trapping of well-dispersed CNCs in the polymer. Although the nanocomposite must be dried before subsequent melt-processing, the organic solvent can be removed by extraction in water and recycled, leaving only residual water in the composite, which is easily eliminated. This process presents numerous advantages compared with the time-consuming solvent casting process, which often suffers from incomplete organic solvent evaporation. As a testbed, polyurethane (PU) composites with up to 30% of CNCs were prepared. These materials were either melt-processed as produced or used as a masterbatch, i.e., they were diluted via melt-mixing with neat polymer toward nanocomposites with lower filler content. All nanocomposites prepared using this approach had a homogeneous appearance. They displayed similar mechanical properties as the corresponding reference materials made by solvent casting, and significantly better properties than materials prepared by direct melt mixing. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2017, 134, 45648.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/app.45648

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