Main content area

Obtaining nanocomposites of polyamide 6 and cellulose whiskers via extrusion and injection molding

Corrêa, Ana Carolina, de Morais Teixeira, Eliangela, Carmona, Vitor Brait, Teodoro, Kelcilene Bruna Ricardo, Ribeiro, Cauê, Mattoso, Luiz Henrique Capparelli, Marconcini, José Manoel
Cellulose 2014 v.21 no.1 pp. 311-322
X-ray diffraction, acid hydrolysis, cellulose, coatings, differential scanning calorimetry, extrusion, formic acid, high temperature treatment, infrared spectroscopy, lint cotton, modulus of elasticity, nanocomposites, scanning electron microscopy, temperature, thermal degradation, thermal stability
Nanocomposites of polyamides with cellulose whiskers are difficult to obtain by conventional processing of extrusion and injection molding because of the low thermal stability of the cellulosic nanostructures and the relatively high processing temperature of polyamides, which is higher than the temperature of thermal degradation of cellulose whiskers. Thus, in this study cellulose whiskers were coated with polyamide 6 (PA6) in order to increase their thermal stability and prevent the formation of agglomerates. This coating on cellulose whiskers allows their application to obtain nanocomposites with polyamides, whose processing temperatures are relatively high, around 250 °C. Cellulose whiskers (CWs) were obtained from cotton fibers by acid hydrolysis. The freeze-dried CWs were coated with PA6 by dispersing them in formic acid; PA6 was solubilized in this suspension. The cellulose-coated whiskers (CCWs) were characterized by X-ray diffraction, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetry (TG), scanning electron microscopy (SEM-FEG) and infrared spectroscopy. SEM-FEG and TG results showed that the PA6 coating on CWs prevented high agglomeration of dried CWs and promoted an increase in their thermal stability from 180 to 280 °C, allowing the use of CCWs to obtain nanocomposites with PA6 using conventional processing routes, such as extrusion and injection molding, at appropriate processing temperatures. In this way, 1 wt% CCWs was used to prepare nanocomposites with PA6. The PA6 + 1CW nanocomposites were compared to neat PA6 without CWs. The samples were characterized by tensile tests and DSC, and the results showed that the PA6 coating on CWs was effective in raising the thermal stability of CWs, improving the dispersion of CWs in the matrix of PA6, resulting in a 45 % increase in the elastic modulus of the nanocomposite with only 1 wt% of coated cellulose whiskers in comparison to neat PA6.