Nanocomposites based on nanocellulose whiskers
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Environmental concerns arising from the use of non-degradable plastics have resulted in search for suitable substitutes. The thesis deals with new nanostructured composites based on reinforcement of nanocellulose whiskers in "green" polymers such as xylan. Since the reinforcement filler and the matrix are both biobased and are thereby environmental friendly. Xylan incorporated with cellulose whiskers films provided with improved water and oxygen barrier properties. It appears that the high degree of crystallinity of cellulose whiskers, dense composite structure formed by the whiskers and rigidly hydrogen-bonded cellulose whiskers can cause cellulose whiskers to form integrated matrix which contribute to substantial benefit in the overall reduction of transmission rate. The spectral data obtained for the NCW/xylan nanocomposite films showed that the amount of xylan adsorbed to cellulose increases with the addition of NCW in the matrix. In addition, NMR T2 relaxation experiments studies were conducted to investigate the change in the nature of carbohydrate-water interactions as a result of NCW incorporation. These results facilitated an improved understanding of the mechanisms involved in the superior barrier and mechanical properties of xylan-whisker nanocomposite films. XRD studies show that when a xylan-whisker nanocomposite films is formed the mixing occurs on the atomic scale and NCW loading increases the matrix crystallinity.