Cellulose Nanocomposites of Cellulose Nanofibers and Molecular Coils

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Henderson, D.; Zhang, X.; Mao, Y.; Hu, L.; Briber, R.M.; Wang, H. Cellulose Nanocomposites of Cellulose Nanofibers and Molecular Coils. J. Compos. Sci. 2021, 5, 200.


All-cellulose nanocomposites have been produced from cellulose nanofiber (CNF) suspensions and molecular coil solutions. Morphology and small-angle neutron scattering studies show the exfoliation and dispersion of CNFs in aqueous suspensions. Cellulose solutions in mixtures of ionic liquid and organic solvents were homogeneously mixed with CNF suspensions and subsequently dried to yield cellulose composites comprising CNF and amorphous cellulose over the entire composition range. Tensile tests show that stiffness and strength quantities of cellulose nanocomposites are the highest value at ca. 20% amorphous cellulose, while their fracture strain and toughness are the lowest. The inclusion of amorphous cellulose in cellulose nanocomposites alters their water uptake capacity, as measured in the ratio of the absorbed water to the cellulose mass, reducing from 37 for the neat CNF to less than 1 for a composite containing 35% or more amorphous cellulose. This study offers new insights into the design and production of all-cellulose nanocomposites.