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J Nanosci Nanotechnol. 2006 Mar;6(3):633-9.

Cellulose nanocrystal-filled carboxymethyl cellulose nanocomposites.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.


Polymer nanocomposites are one of the important application areas for nanotechnology. Naturally derived organic nanophase materials are of special interest in the case of polymer nanocomposites. Carboxymethyl cellulose is a polyelectrolyte derived from natural materials. It has been extensively studied as a hydrogel polymer. Methods to modify the mechanical properties of gels and films made from CMC are of interest in our lab and in the commercial marketplace. The effect of nano-sized fillers on the properties of CMC-based composites is of interest in the development of novel or improved applications for hydrogel polymers in general and CMC in particular. This project investigated cellulose nanocrystals (CNXLs) as a filler in CMC and compared the effects to microcrystalline cellulose (MCC). The composite material was composed of CMC, MCC or CNXL, with glycerin as a plasticizer. CNXL and MCC concentrations ranged from 5% to 30%. Glycerin concentrations were kept constant at 10%. CNXLs improved the strength and stiffness of the resulting composite compared to MCC. In addition, a simple heat treatment was found to render the nanocomposite water resistant.

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