NC State
Cobut, A., Sehaqui, H., and Berglund, L. A. (2014). "Cellulose nanocomposites by melt compounding of TEMPO-treated wood fibers in thermoplastic starch matrix," BioRes. 9(2), 3276-3289.


To facilitate melt compounding of cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) based composites, wood pulp fibers were subjected to a chemical treatment whereby the fibers were oxidized using 2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxyl radical (TEMPO). This treatment introduced negatively charged carboxylate groups to the fibers. TEMPO-treated fibers (TempoF) were added to a mixture of amylopectin starch, glycerol, and water. Granules were prepared from this mixture and processed into CNF composites by extrusion. TempoF were easier to process into composites as compared with non-treated pulp fibers (PF). SEM revealed partial disintegration of TempoF during melt processing. Consequently, TempoF gave composites with much better mechanical properties than those of conventional composites prepared from pulp fibers and TPS. Particularly, at 20 wt% TempoF content in the composite, the modulus and strength were much improved. Such a continuous melt processing route, as an alternative to laboratory solvent casting techniques, may promote large-scale production of CNF-based composites as an environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic plastics/composites.
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