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Keywords:

  • cellulose;
  • electrospinning;
  • fibers;
  • hierarchical structure;
  • nanocomposite;
  • nanowhiskers

Abstract

Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Attempts to create hierarchically structured, uniaxially oriented nanocomposites comprising cellulose nanowhiskers (CNWs), which promise anisotropic mechanical properties, are exceedingly rare. We report here the fabrication of uniaxially-oriented arrays of microfibers based on poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) and CNWs by electrospinning. Compared with the neat PEO fibers, the incorporation of CNWs within the fibers increased the storage modulus (E′) of arrays along the fiber axis of the PEO/CNW nanocomposite fibers. Successful incorporation of the CNWs within each of the as-spun PEO/CNW nanocomposite fibers in the direction parallel to the fiber axis was verified by both scanning and transmission electron microscopy.