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Hrabalova, M., Schwanninger, M., Wimmer, R., Gregorova, A., Zimmermann, T., and Mundigler, N. (2011). "Fibrillation of flax and wheat straw cellulose: Effects on thermal, morphological, and viscoelastic properties of poly(vinylalcohol)/fibre composites," BioRes. 6(2), 1631-1647.

Abstract

Nano-fibrillated cellulose was produced from flax and wheat straw cellulose pulps by high pressure disintegration. The reinforcing potential of both disintegrated nano-celluloses in a polyvinyl-alcohol matrix was evaluated. Disintegration of wheat straw was significantly more time and energy consuming. Disintegration did not lead to distinct changes in the degree of polymerization; however, the fibre diameter reduction was more than a hundredfold, creating a nano-fibrillated cellulose network, as shown through field-emission-scanning electron microscopy. Composite films were prepared from polyvinyl alcohol and filled with nano-fibrillated celluloses up to 40% mass fractions. Nano-fibrillated flax showed better dispersion in the polyvinyl alcohol matrix, compared to nano-fibrillated wheat straw. Dynamic mechanical analysis of composites revealed that the glass transition and rubbery region increased more strongly with included flax nano-fibrils. Intermolecular interactions between cellulose fibrils and polyvinyl alcohol matrix were shown through differential scanning calorimetry and attenuated total reflection-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The selection of appropriate raw cellulose material for high pressure disintegration was an indispensable factor for the processing of nano-fibrillated cellulose, which is essential for the functional optimization of products.
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