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Keywords:

  • balsa wood;
  • cellulose;
  • crystallinity;
  • nanowhiskers;
  • renewable resources

Abstract

Summary: In this study cellulose nanowhiskers were obtained from balsa wood. For this purpose, fibers of balsa wood were exposed to hydrolysis reactions for lignin and hemicellulose digestion and acquisition of nano-scale cellulose. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) results demonstrated that the obtained cellulose nanocrystals had average length and thickness of 176 (±68 nm) and 7.5 (±2.9 nm), respectively. Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and wide angle x-ray diffraction (WAXD) showed that the process for extracting the nanowhiskers digested nearly all the lignin and hemicellulose from the balsa fiber and still preserved the aspect ratio and crystallinity satisfactory enough for future application as nanofillers in polymer nanocomposites. The thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) showed that the onset temperature of thermal degradation of the cellulose nanocrystals (226 °C) was higher than the onset temperature of the balsa fiber (215 °C), allowing its use in molding processes with polymers melts.