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Document type: Tese
Access type: Acesso Aberto
Title: Morphological investigation of cellulose nanocrystals and nanocomposite applications
Author: Flauzino Neto, Wilson Pires
First Advisor: Otaguro, Harumi
First member of the Committee: Cerqueira, Daniel Alves
Second member of the Committee: Lucas, Alessandra de Almeida
Third member of the Committee: Morais, Luis Carlos de
Fourth member of the Committee: Schmidt, Vivian Consuelo Reolon
Fifth member of the Committee: Dufresne, Alain
Summary: Abstract: Since this thesis presents two independent studies on cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs), the abstract was divided in two sections referring to chapters II and III, respectively. Comprehensive morphological and structural investigation of cellulose I and II nanocrystals prepared by sulfuric acid hydrolysis Cellulose has several polymorphs. These polymorphs differ by crystal packing (i.e. unit cell parameters), polarity of the constituting chains and hydrogen bond patterns established between them. Most of cellulose polymorphs result from chemical treatments of the native polymorph, the so-called cellulose I (Cel-I) (Wada et al., 2008). In Cel-I, the chains are parallel and can be packed into two allomorphs, namely Iα and Iβ. Among the cellulose polymorphs, cellulose II (Cel-II), in which the chains are antiparallel, can be prepared from Cel-I by two distinct processes: Mercerization or Regeneration. Mercerization is an essentially solid-state process during which cellulose fibers are swollen in concentrated alkali media and recrystallized into cellulose II upon washing and drying (removal of the swelling agent). Unlike the mercerization process, in process known as regeneration, cellulose is first dissolved in an appropriated solvent and subsequent reprecipitated by adding a non-solvent, leading the chains to recrystallize into into Cel-II polymorph. The Cel-I to Cel-II transition is irreversible, which suggests that Cel-II is thermodynamically more stable (Habibi et al., 2010). Cell-II is the second most extensively studied polymorph due to its technical relevance. Nevertheless, so far, most of investigations involving Cel-II have focused on fibers and only a few recent studies have been carried out on CNCs. Cel-II nanocrystals have been prepared either by acid hydrolysis of mercerized fibers (Hirota et al., 2012; Kim et al., 2006; Yue et al., 2012), mercerization of Cel-I CNCs (Jin et al., 2016), or after recrystallization of fractions of short cellulose chains in solution (Dhar et al., 2015; Hirota et al., 2012; Hu et al., 2014; Sèbe et al., 2012). However, while these studies have generally combined the data from several imaging, diffraction and spectroscopic techniques, a complete structural picture of the nanocrystals has not been reported so far. In this context, the purpose of the research work presented in chapter II was to produce, characterize and compare CNCs obtained from eucalyptus wood pulp using three different methods: i) classical sulfuric acid hydrolysis (CN-I), ii) acid hydrolysis of cellulose previously mercerized by alkaline treatment (MCN-II), and iii) solubilization of cellulose in sulfuric acid and subsequent recrystallization in water (RCN-II). The morphology, crystal structure, crystallinity index, surface charge and degree of polymerization of these nanocrystals were characterized by complementary techniques, namely elemental analysis, zetametry, viscometry, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier-transform infrared and solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopies (FTIR and NMR, respectively). The three types of prepared CNC exhibit different morphologies and crystalline structures. When the acid hydrolysis conditions are set-up in such a way that the crystalline domains in the initial wood pulp and mercerized cellulose (WP and MWP, respectively) are preserved (60 wt% H2SO4, 45°C, 50 min), the resulting nanocrystals retain the fibrillar nature of the parent fibers (i.e., the chain axis is parallel to the long axis of the acicular particles) and their initial allomorphic type (I for WP and II for the MWP). In both cases, the particles are mostly composed of a few laterally-bound elementary crystallites, in agreement with what was shown for cotton CNCs by Elazzouzi-Hafraoui et al. (2008). The unit nanocrystals in CNCs from mercerized cellulose (MCN-II) are shorter but broader than those prepared from cellulose I fibers (CN-I). If harsher conditions are used (64 wt% H2SO4, 40°C, 20 min), resulting in the depolymerisation and dissolution of native cellulose, the short chains (with degree of polymerization DP ≈ 17) recrystallize into Cel-II ribbons upon regeneration in water at room temperature. In these somewhat tortuous ribbons, the chain axis would lie perpendicular to the long axis of the nanocrystal and parallel to its basal plane. In addition, these nanoribbons are very similar in shape and molecular orientation to mannan II nanocrystals prepared by recrystallization of mannan (Heux et al., 2005), a linear polymer of β-(1,4)-D-mannosyl residues, suggesting that this mode of crystallization may be a feature of short-chain linear β-(1,4)-linked polysaccharides. Although similar ribbons of recrystallized cellulose II have been reported by other authors, to our knowledge, it is the first time that a detailed morphological and structural description is proposed in terms of particle morphology, crystal structure and chain orientation. By comparison with the fibrillar nanocrystals prepared by acid hydrolysis of native or mercerized cellulose fibers, the unique molecular and crystal structure of the nanoribbons imply that a higher number of reducing chain ends are located at the particle surface, which may be important for subsequent chemical modification and specific potential applications such as biosensing and bioimaging agents. Therefore this study offers scope to a better understanding of crystalline structure and morphology of CNC obtained by regeneration process with sulfuric acid. Mechanical properties of natural rubber nanocomposites reinforced with high aspect ratio cellulose nanocrystals isolated from soy hulls At present, the most promising application of CNCs is as reinforcement material in the field of polymer nanocomposites.The incorporation of CNCs in polymer matrices generally leads to polymer-based nanocomposite materials with higher mechanical and barrier properties than the neat polymer or conventional composites. Among various factors that influence the efficiency of the reinforcing effect of CNCs, their intrinsic characteristics, including crystallinity and aspect ratio, play a key role (Dufresne, 2012; Favier et al., 1995; Mariano et al., 2014). It is also well-known that these characteristics depend on the source of the original cellulose, on the extraction method and its conditions (including pretreatment). However, it is widely accepted that the raw starting material is the most important factor (Beck-Candanedo et al., 2005; Dufresne, 2012; Elazzouzi- Hafraoui et al., 2008). The reinforcement capability of CNCs is therefore directly linked to the source of cellulose as well as its biosynthesis. Thus, the optimization of the extraction procedure and further characterization of CNCs from different sources of cellulose are crucial for an efficient exploitation of these sources, allowing the selection of the appropriate source (i.e. with targeted morphology) to suit specific end user applications (Brinchi et al., 2013). Natural rubber (NR) is a perfect polymer matrix to be used as a model system to study the effect of filler reinforcement, owing to its high flexibility and low stiffness. Its properties can be tailored by the addition of reinforcing fillers of various surface chemistries and aggregate size/aspect ratios to suit the targeted application. CNCs extracted from different sources have already been studied as nanoreinforcement in NRbased nanocomposites, including CNCs isolated from capim dourado (Siqueira et al., 2010), rachis of palm date tree (Bendahou et al., 2009), sugarcane bagasse (Pasquini et al., 2010; Bras et al., 2010), sisal (Siqueira et al., 2011), and bamboo (Visakh et al., 2012). So far, little results have been reported in the literature on the isolation of CNCs from soy hulls or their use in nanocomposites (Flauzino Neto et al., 2013, Silvério et al., 2014). In this study, CNCs were isolated from soy hulls by sulfuric acid hydrolysis treatment. The resulting CNCs, referred to as CNCSH in the following, were characterized using transmission electron microscopy (TEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), wide-angle X-ray scattering (WAXS). These CNCSH were used as a reinforcing phase in a NR matrix to prepare nanocomposite films by casting/evaporation at 1, 2.5 and 5 wt% (dry basis) loading levels. The effect of CNCSH on the structure, as well as thermal and mechanical properties of NR, was investigated by means of scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), tensile tests and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). For the acid hydrolysis treatment, were chose milder conditions compared to those described in Flauzino Neto et al. (2013) in order to avoid as much as possible the hydrolysis of crystalline cellulose domains. The CNCSH was found to have a type I crystal structure, high crystallinity (crystallinity index ≈ 80%), large specific surface area (estimated to be 747 m2.g-1 from geometrical considerations) and high aspect ratio (around 100). This aspect ratio is the largest ever reported in the literature for a plant cellulose source. Futhermore, from microscopic observations it is clearly seen that CNCSH does not consist of partially hydrolyzed microfibril since it displays the classical rod-like morphology of CNC. Thus, soy hull was found to be an interesting source of raw material for the production of CNC, due to the characteristics of the obtained nanocrystals associated with low lignin content and wide availability of this agro-industrial residue. In the meantime, the reuse of this agro-industrial residue goes towards sustainable development and environment-friendly materials. To tailor the dimensions of CNC and take full advantage of this source, special care needs to be paid to the extraction process and its conditions. A milder acid hydrolysis is preferable to improve the extraction yield, preserve the crystallinity of native cellulose and obtain high aspect ratio CNC. As expected, a high reinforcing effect is observed even at low filler contents when using this nanofiller (CNCSH) to prepare nanocomposites with a natural rubber (NR) matrix by casting/evaporation. For instance, by adding only 2.5 wt% CNC, the storage tensile modulus at 25°C of the nanocomposite was about 21 times higher than that of the unfilled NR matrix. This reinforcing effect was higher than the one observed for CNCs extracted from other sources. It may be assigned not only to the high aspect ratio of these CNCs but also to the stiffness of the percolating nanoparticle network formed within the polymer matrix. Moreover, the sedimentation of CNCs during the film processing by casting/evaporation was found to take place and play a crucial role on the mechanical properties. Thus, both the high aspect ratio of the CNC and sedimentation due to the processing technique are involved in the good mechanical results obtained. Indeed, if sedimentation occurs, then a multilayered film results and the CNC content in the lowest layers is higher than the average CNC content. It means that CNC mechanical percolation can occur in the lowest layers for an average CNC content which is lower than the percolation threshold. Hence, the system can be considered as constituted of parallel layers in the direction of the mechanical solicitation (tensile mode), and the CNC-rich layers can support a higher stress leading to a higher modulus value. Moreover, if high aspect ratio CNC is used, then percolation can occur in the lowest layers for lower average CNC contents. An important contribution of this work is to highlight the importance of the sedimentation of CNC during the evaporation step on the mechanical properties of the nanocomposites which is rarely mentioned in the literature.
Keywords: Química
Nanocristais de celulose
Nanocompósitos (Materiais)
Language: eng
Country: Brasil
Publisher: Universidade Federal de Uberlândia
Program: Programa de Pós-graduação em Química
Quote: FLAUZINO NETO, Wilson Pires. Morphological investigation of cellulose nanocrystals and nanocomposite applications. 2017. 141 f. Tese (Doutorado em Química) - Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, Uberlândia, 2017. Disponível em
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Date of defense: 1-Feb-2017
Appears in Collections:TESE - Química

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