Nanofiber composites of polyvinyl alcohol and cellulose nanocrystals: manufacture and characterization
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Cellulose nanocrystals (CN) were used to reinforce nanofibers in composite mats produced via electrospinning of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) with two different concentrations of acetyl groups. Ultrathin cross-sections of the obtained nanocomposites consisted of fibers with maximum diameters of about 290 nm for all the CN loads investigated (from 0 to 15% CN loading). The electrospinning process did not affect the structure of the PVA polymer matrix, but its degree of crystallinity increased significantly together with a slight increase in the corresponding melting temperature. These effects were explained as being the result of alignment and enhanced crystallization of PVA chains within the individual nanofibers that were subjected to high shear stresses during electrospinning. The strong interaction of the PVA matrix with the dispersed CN phase, mainly via hydrogen bonding or bond network, was reduced with the presence of acetyl groups in PVA. Most importantly, the elastic modulus of the nanocomposite mats increased significantly as a consequence of the reinforcing effect of CNs via the percolation network held by hydrogen bonds. However, this organization-driven crystallization was limited as observed by the reduction in the degree of crystallinity of the CN-loaded composite fibers. Finally, efficient stress transfer and strong interactions were demonstrated to occur between the reinforcing CN and the fully hydrolyzed PVA electrospun fibers.
CitationPeresin, M. [et al.]. Nanofiber composites of polyvinyl alcohol and cellulose nanocrystals: manufacture and characterization. "Biomacromolecules", 8 Març 2010, vol. 11, núm. 3, p. 674-681.