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Cellulose Nanocrystals/Polyacrylamide Composites of High Sensitivity and Cycling Performance To Gauge Humidity

Lu, Tao, Pan, Hui, Ma, Jun, Li, Yao, Bokhari, Syeda Wishal, Jiang, Xueliang, Zhu, Shenmin, Zhang, Di
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2017 v.9 no.21 pp. 18231-18237
absorption, cellulose, chemical bonding, color, glutaraldehyde, humidity, nanocrystals, photons, polyacrylamide
Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) have attracted much interest due to their unique optical property, rich resource, environment friendliness, and templating potentials. CNCs have been reported as novel photonic humidity sensors, which are unfortunately limited by the dissolution and unideal moisture absorption of CNCs. We, in this study, developed a high-performance photonic humidity composite sensor that consisted of CNCs and polyacrylamide; chemical bonding was induced between the two components by using glutaraldehyde as a bridging agent. The composites inherited the chiral nematic structure of CNCs and maintained it well through a cycling test. A distinct color change was observed for these composites used as a humidity indicator; the change was caused by polyacrylamide swelling with water and thus enlarging the helical pitch of the chiral nematic structure. The composites showed no degradation of the sensing performance through cycling. The excellent cycling stability was attributed to the bonding between polyacrylamide and CNCs. This composite strategy can extend to the development of other photonic indicators.