, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 303-313
Date: 08 Nov 2012

Resin impregnation of cellulose nanofibril films facilitated by water swelling

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Flexible composite films were produced by impregnating aqueous phenol formaldehyde (PF) resin into water-swollen cellulose nanofibril (CNF) films. CNF films were prepared using a pressurized filtration method in combination with freeze drying. The freeze-dried films were swollen with water then impregnated with PF resin by soaking in aqueous resin solutions of varying concentrations. Small amounts of PF slightly enhanced the tensile properties of CNF films. The formulation with the best mechanical properties was CNF/PF films with 8 wt % resin exhibiting tensile stress and toughness of 248 MPa and 26 MJ/m3, respectively. Resin concentrations higher than about 8 % resulted in composites with decreased tensile properties as compared to neat CNF films. The wet strength of the composite films was significantly higher than that of the neat CNF films. The resulting composites showed greater resistance to moisture absorption accompanied by reduced thickness swelling when soaked in water as compared to neat CNF films. The composites also showed decreased oxygen permeability at low humidity compared to neat films, but the composites did not show improved barrier properties at high humidity.