In this study surface-modified nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) was used at low levels (0.5 to1.5 wt%) as a reinforcement in a polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) matrix. The modified-NFC-PVA composite films prepared using the solution casting technique showed improved mechanical performance. Birch pulp cellulose was initially modified by allylation using a solvent-free, dry modification method followed by subsequent epoxidation of the allyl groups and finally grinding the pulp to yield epoxy-NFC. In order to obtain optimal mechanical performance, epoxy-NFC with different degrees of substitution was evaluated in the reinforcement of PVA. The addition of 1 wt% epoxy- NFC (degree of substitution, DS 0.07) enhanced the modulus, strength, and strain of pure PVA film by 307, 139 and 23 %, respectively, thus producing the best performing film. The results demonstrate the favourable effect of chemically functionalized NFC on the mechanical properties of polyvinyl alcohol compared to unmodified NFC as reinforcement. In order to improve industrial and economic feasibility, the manufacture of the composite was also done in situ by grinding cellulose directly in PVA to produce the new biocomposite in a one-step process.
- nanofibrillated cellulose
- polyvinyl alcohol
- readtive grinding
- chemical surface modification