Main content area

Cellulose/chitosan hybrid nanofibers from electrospinning of their ester derivatives

Du, Jian, Hsieh, You-Lo
Cellulose 2009 v.16 no.2 pp. 247-260
acetic acid, acetone, acylation, cellulose, cellulose acetate, chitin, chitosan, ethanol, hybrids, hydrolysis, mixing, nanofibers, solvents
A facile approach has been established to generate cellulose/chitosan hybrid nanofibers with full range of compositions by electrospinning of their ester derivatives, cellulose acetate (CA) and dibutyryl chitin (DBC), followed by alkaline hydrolysis to cellulose (Cell) and chitosan (CS). DBC was synthesized by acid-catalyzed acylation of chitin (CHI) with butyric anhydride and the newly formed butyl groups on C3 and C6 were confirmed by FT-IR and ¹HNMR. DBC had robust solubility in acetone, DMAc, DMF, ethanol, and acetic acid, all except ethanol were also solvents for CA, allowing mixing of these ester derivatives. Fiber formation by electrospinning of either DBC or CA alone and together in these common solvents and their mixtures were studied. The 1/1 acetone/acetic acid was found to be the optimal solvent system to generate fibers from either DBC or CA as well as their mixtures at all CA/DBC ratios, resulting in hybrid fibers with diameters ranging from 30 to 350 nm. DBC and CA were well mixed and showed no phase separate in the hybrid fibers. Alkaline hydrolysis (NaOH) of the equal mass CA/DBC nanofibers regenerated Cell and CHI readily via O-deacylation, then proceeded to further deacetylate CHI to CS via N-deacetylation at higher alkaline concentrations and/or temperatures. Under conditions studied, hydrolysis with 5N NaOH at 100 °C for 3 h was optimal to regenerate cellulose/chitosan hybrid nanofibers.