Improvement of mechanical and oxygen barrier properties of cellulose films by controlling drying conditions of regenerated cellulose hydrogels
Mechanical, thermal and oxygen barrier properties of regenerated cellulose films prepared from aqueous cellulose/alkali/urea solutions can be markedly improved by controlling the drying conditions of the films. By pre-pressing followed by vacuum drying under compression, the tensile strength, Young’s modulus, coefficient of thermal expansion and oxygen permeability of the dried films reached 263 MPa, 7.3 GPa, 10.3 ppm K−1 and 0.0007 ml μm m−2 day−1 kPa−1, respectively. Thus, films produced in this way show the highest performance of regenerated cellulose films with no orientation of cellulose chains reported to date. These improved properties are accompanied by a clear increase in cellulose II crystallinity from 50 to 62% during pre-pressing/press-vacuum drying process. At the same time, the film density increased from 1.45 to 1.57 g cm−3, and the moisture content under equilibrium conditions decreased from 14.1 to 9.8%. Hence, the aqueous alkali/urea solvent system has potential applications in producing new and environmentally friendly cellulose films with high performances through control of the drying conditions.
KeywordsRegenerated cellulose film Alkali/urea Drying conditions Oxygen barrier Mechanical properties
This study was partially supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research S (grant number 21228007), and by the China Scholarship Council (CSC) for QY.
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