Hybrid nanopaper of cellulose nanofibrils and PET microfibers with high tear and crumpling resistance
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Cellulose nanofibrils (CNF), once filtered and dried, have the particularity to form a highly cohesive network, nanopaper. One of the drawbacks of all CNF nanopapers is their relative brittleness and low tear resistance, measured as the force needed for crack propagation after introducing a notch. In this work, hybrid nanopapers with drastically improved tear and crumpling resistance were produced by introducing polyethylene terephthalate (PET) microfibers into the CNF suspension prior to sheet fabrication. The PET microfibers were well dispersed in the CNF suspension and subsequently evenly distributed in the formed sheets. Incorporation of 10 wt% PET fibers increased the dry tear resistance with notch by a factor of 10 while still maintaining most of the mechanical properties. This effect is attributed to the loosely bound PET fibers which limit the crack propagation by dissipating the energy. It was also possible to improve the wet tear resistance by a factor of 4. Furthermore, incorporation of PET fibers allowed for crumpling of nanopaper that previously was so brittle it shattered from the deformation. Finally, incorporation of PET fibers also improved the crumpling resistance of wet samples. The improved wet properties, together with a higher and tunable porosity, open up the possibility to use these hybrid nanopaper sheets in filtration applications.
KeywordsCellulose nanofibrils Nanopaper Tear resistance Crumpling resistance
The authors thank the industrial support of this PhD project, whose name is not mentioned for confidentiality reasons. This research was made possible thanks to the facilities of the TekLiCell platform funded by the Région Rhône-Alpes (ERDF: European regional development fund). LGP2 is part of the LabEx Tec 21 (Investissements d’Avenir—Grant Agreement No. ANR-11-LABX-0030) and of PolyNat Carnot Institute (Investissements d’Avenir—Grant Agreement No. ANR-16-CARN-0025-01). Julien Bras is a member of the Institut Universitaire de France whose support is acknowledged.
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