, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 393-404
Date: 05 Dec 2010

Heterogeneous modification of various celluloses with fatty acids

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Abstract

Heterogeneous modification of various types of cellulose (microcrystalline cellulose, cellulose whiskers and regenerated cellulose) was performed with long-chain fatty acids by an esterification reaction. The differences in reactivity between the celluloses were studied as well as the influences of the chain length and double bond content of the fatty acids. The success of the modification reaction and the structure of modified samples were studied with diverse characterization methods. Surface modification changed the thermal stability of cellulose by decreasing the degradation temperature but also made the pyrolysis curve two-stepped due to the double bonds in the fatty acid chain. It was observed that the nature of the fatty acid affected the degree of substitution (DS). The longer the fatty acid chain was, the lower was the DS. Fatty acids with increased double bond content gave decreased DS. Regenerated cellulose seemed to have the highest surface reactivity due to the distinct morphological structure, which also led to a much lower quantity of fatty acids attached to the structure than for other modified cellulose particles. The mixture of tall oil fatty acids behaved in the same manner as the commercial fatty acids, proving to be an excellent “green” choice for this kind of application.