, Volume 12, Issue 8, pp 1002-1006
Date: 07 Dec 2011

Electrospinning of Bombyx mori silk fibroin nanofiber mats reinforced by cellulose nanowhiskers

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Cellulose nanowhisker (CNW) reinforced electrospun Bombyx mori silk fibroin (SF) nanofibers were fabricated. The morphology, structure, and mechanical properties of nanofibers were investigated by FE-SEM, TEM, FTIR, and tensile testing. It was found that the nanofiber size decreased obviously from 250 nm in the unreinforced mat to 77–160 nm in the CNW reinforced mats depending on the CNW content due to the increased conductivity of spinning dope. In the reinforced mats, the CNWs were embedded in the SF matrix separated from each other, and aligned along the fiber axis. There was a positive correlation between the CNW content and the tensile strength and Young’s modulus of reinforced mats. However the strain at break dropped gradually with the increase of CNW. When the CNW content was 2 w/w%, the tensile strength and Young’s modulus of reinforced SF nanofiber mats were about 2 times higher than those of unreinforced mat.