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Facile construction of cellulose nanocomposite aerogel containing TiO2 nanoparticles with high content and small size and their applications

Wang, Qiyang, Wang, Yixiang, Chen, Lingyun, Cai, Jie, Zhang, Lina
Cellulose 2017 v.24 no.5 pp. 2229-2240
X-ray diffraction, catalysts, cellulose, hydrolysis, irradiation, nanocomposites, nanoparticles, nitrogen, scanning electron microscopy, screening, strength (mechanics), temperature, thermogravimetry, titanium dioxide, transmission electron microscopy, ultraviolet radiation
TiO₂/cellulose composite aerogels were easily fabricated by the in situ synthesis of TiO₂ nanoparticles in a cellulose matrix at a mild temperature (≤80 °C). The TiO₂/cellulose aerogel structure and morphology were analyzed with scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, thermal gravimetric analysis, and nitrogen adsorption–desorption tests as well as tensile testing. The results revealed that the TiO₂ content in the composite aerogels increased dramatically with an increase of the treating times in tetrabutyl titanate to achieve a value of 65 wt%, which was much higher than that in literatures. Depending on the number of hydrolysis cycles, the mean diameter of the TiO₂ nanoparticles was controlled to be approximately from 1.5 ± 1.0 to 3.5 ± 2.0 nm. The TiO₂/cellulose nanocomposite aerogel exhibited excellent mechanical strength, good UV screening ability as well as highly efficient photo-catalytic activity under weak UV light irradiation. This work opens a new avenue to construct TiO₂/cellulose aerogels with a high content and small size of TiO₂ nanoparticles, thus demonstrating potential applications in the fields of UV screening and catalyst.