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Effects of hydrolysis conditions on the morphology, crystallinity, and thermal stability of cellulose nanocrystals extracted from kenaf bast fibers

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Cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) were first isolated from kenaf bast fibers and then characterized. The raw fibers were subjected to alkali treatment and bleaching treatment and subsequent hydrolysis with sulfuric acid. The influence of the reaction time on the morphology, crystallinity, and thermal stability of CNC was investigated. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy showed that lignin and hemicellulose were almost entirely removed during the alkali and bleaching treatments. The morphology and dimensions of the fibers and acid-released CNC were characterized by field emission scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. X-Ray diffraction analysis revealed that the crystallinity first increases upon hydrolysis and then decreases after long durations of hydrolysis. The optimal extraction time was found to be around 40 min during hydrolysis at 45 °C with 65% sulfuric acid. The thermal stability was found to decrease as the hydrolysis time increased. The electrophoretic mobility of the CNC suspensions was measured using the zeta potential, and it ranged from −8.7 to −95.3 mV.

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The authors acknowledge the financial support from the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) under FRGS grant UKM-ST-07-FRGS0041-2009 and UKM-DLP-2011-013. In addition, we wish to thank the French Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) for providing financial support (French Scholars in Malaysia).

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Correspondence to Ishak Ahmad.

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Kargarzadeh, H., Ahmad, I., Abdullah, I. et al. Effects of hydrolysis conditions on the morphology, crystallinity, and thermal stability of cellulose nanocrystals extracted from kenaf bast fibers. Cellulose 19, 855–866 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10570-012-9684-6

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  • Kenaf fibers
  • Purification
  • Cellulose nanocrystals
  • Hydrolysis conditions