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Structure and properties of the nanocomposite films of chitosan reinforced with cellulose whiskers



Bio-based nanocomposite films were successfully developed using cellulose whiskers as the reinforcing phase and chitosan as the matrix. Cellulose whiskers, with the lengths of 400 ± 92 nm and diameters of 24 ± 7.5 nm on average, were prepared by hydrolyzing cotton linter with sulfuric acid solution. The effects of whisker content on the structure, morphology and properties of the nanocomposite films were characterized by SEM, XRD, FTIR, UV-vis spectroscopy, DMA, TG, tensile testing, and swelling experiment. The results indicated that the nanocomposites exhibited good miscibility, and strong interactions occurred between the whiskers and the matrix. With increasing whisker content from 0 to 15–20 wt %, the tensile strength of the composite films in dry and wet states increased from 85 to 120 MPa and 9.9 to 17.3 MPa, respectively. Furthermore, the nanocomposite films displayed excellent thermal stability and water resistance with the incorporation of cellulose whiskers. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys 47: 1069–1077, 2009