MORPHOLOGY OF CELLULOSE AND CELLULOSE BLEND THIN FILMS
Briber, Robert M.
MetadataShow full item record
Cellulose is the most abundant, renewable, biocompatible and biodegradable natural polymer. Cellulose exhibits excellent chemical and mechanical stability, which makes it useful for applications such as construction, filtration, bio-scaffolding and packaging. It is useful to study amorphous cellulose as most reactions happen in the non-crystalline regions first and at the edge of crystalline regions. In this study, amorphous thin films of cotton linter cellulose with various thicknesses were spincoated on silicon wafers from cellulose solutions in dimethyl sulfoxide / ionic liquid mixtures. Optical microscopy and atomic force microscopy indicated that the morphology of as-cast films was sensitive to the film preparation conditions. A sample preparation protocol with low humidity system was developed to achieve featureless smooth films over multiple length scales from nanometers to tens of microns. X-ray reflectivity, X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and high resolution sum-frequency generation vibrational spectroscopy were utilized to confirm that there were no crystalline regions in the films. One- and three- layer models were used to analyze the X-ray reflectivity data to obtain information about roughness, density and interfacial roughness as a function of film thickness from 10-100nm. Stability tests of the thin films were conducted under harsh conditions including hot water, acid and alkali solutions. The stability of thin films of cellulose blended with the synthetic polymer, polyacrylonitrile, was also investigated. The blend thin films improved the etching resistance to alkali solutions and retained the stability in hot water and acid solutions compared to the pure cellulose films.