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Increased thermal stability of nanocellulose composites by functionalization of the sulfate groups on cellulose nanocrystals with azetidinium ions

Journal article
Authors M. Borjesson
K. Sahlin
Diana Bernin
G. Westman
Published in Journal of Applied Polymer Science
Volume 135
Issue 10
ISSN 0021-8995
Publication year 2018
Published at Swedish NMR Centre at Göteborg University
Language en
Keywords biopolymers and renewable polymers, cellulose and other wood products, functionalization of, wet-strength development, solvolytic desulfation, mechanism, behavior, charge, films, Polymer Science
Subject categories Chemical Sciences


Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) prepared via sulfuric acid hydrolysis are decorated with sulfate groups that yield a stable water suspension. To make the CNCs adaptable for use in composites, the hydroxyl groups on the surface are usually hydrophobized. In this article, an alternative hydrophobization method is described in which the sulfate groups are conjugated with azetidinium salts. The results of this study show that the sulfate groups can be functionalized with azetidinium salts and from thermal studies, it was discovered that the functionalization led to a 100 degrees C increase in thermal stability, compared with unmodified CNCs. The nanocomposites prepared by extrusion of CNC-coated low-density polyethylene powder displayed similar mechanical properties as the CNC-reference sample, but without the discoloration, due to the increased thermal stability. In conclusion, the azetidinium reagent reacts preferentially with sulfate groups, and this new type of chemical conversion of sulfate groups on polysaccharides will be beneficial in nanocomposite manufacturing. (C) 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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