Main content area

Tough nanocomposite hydrogels from cellulose nanocrystals/poly(acrylamide) clusters: influence of the charge density, aspect ratio and surface coating with PEG

Yang, Jun, Zhao, Jing-Jing, Han, Chun-Rui, Duan, Jiu-Fang, Xu, Feng, Sun, Run-Cang
Cellulose 2014 v.21 no.1 pp. 541-551
acid hydrolysis, acrylamides, active sites, adsorption, cellulose, coatings, crosslinking, ethylene glycol, hydrocolloids, mechanical properties, nanocomposites, nanocrystals, pulp fiber, sulfuric acid, transmission electron microscopy
Cellulose-derived materials are usually characterized by sophisticated structures, leading to unique and multiple functions, which have been a source of inspiration for the fabrication of a wide variety of nanocomposites. Cellulose nanocrystals/poly(acrylamide) (CNCs/PAM) nanocomposite hydrogels were synthesized via in situ polymerization in the CNC suspension. The cellulose from pulp fiber under different sulfuric acid hydrolysis conditions, examined by conductometric titration and transmission electron microscopy, was applied to study how the effects of the surface charge and aspect ratio affect CNCs’ mechanical reinforcement in nanocomposites. The results indicated that the higher surface charge concentration resulted in better dispersibility in aqueous suspension, leading to a more efficient energy dissipation process. The CNC reinforcement behavior followed the percolation model where the greater aspect ratio of CNC contributed to higher mechanical properties. The preferential adsorption of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) on the CNC surface was characterized by zeta potential measurements where the fracture strength and fracture elongation of nanocomposites decreased with increasing PEG concentration. The adsorption of PEG on the CNC surface occupied the active sites for polymer chain propagation, which hindered the PAM cross-linking effect on the CNC surface and decreased the cross-linking density of the network.