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Preparation of cellulose nanocrystal from tobacco-stem and its application in ethyl cellulose film as a reinforcing agent

  • Junhua Shi
  • Wenyong LiuEmail author
  • Xinman Jiang
  • Wenliang Liu
Original Research


The brittleness of ethyl cellulose (EC) film limited its full applications, and the addition of plasticizers is one of the most common methods to reduce its brittleness. However, the mechanical properties are normally dropped with the addition of plasticizers. Herein, cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) was chosen as a reinforcing agent to improve its mechanical properties. CNC was firstly extracted from the tobacco-stem and then modified by epoxidized soybean oil (ESO) via ring-opening grafting to obtain epoxidized soybean oil grafting CNC (ECNC). The grafting effect was evaluated by FTIR and XPS. After that, the films of ECNC/EC nanocomposites were prepared by the solution-casting method, and their mechanical, thermal and optical properties and fracture morphology were investigated. The results showed that at 4 phr loading of ECNC, the tensile strength of the nanocomposite film was up to 43.7 Mpa (about twice as much as that of the EC film plasticized by ESO), and the elongation at break was not influenced. Moreover, a higher thermal decomposition temperature was achieved for the ECNC/EC films. Besides, owing to the good dispersion, ECNC had no significant impact on the transparency, and the films presented high light transmittance in the visible light region.

Graphic abstract


Cellulose nanocrystal Ethyl cellulose film Reinforcing agent Modification 



The work was supported by Natural Science Foundation of Hunan Province of China (No. 2018JJ2088), Scientific Research Foundation of Hunan Provincial Education Department of China (No. 15K034) and Postgraduate Research and Innovation Project of Hunan Province of China (Nos. CX20190839 and CX2018B735).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National and Local Joint Engineering Research Center of Advanced Packaging Materials Research and Development Technology, Hunan Key Laboratory of Biomass Fiber Functional Materials, Hunan International Scientific and Technological Innovation Cooperation Base of Biomass Fiber Materials and Application, College of Packaging and Materials EngineeringHunan University of TechnologyZhuzhouChina
  2. 2.College of Packaging Design and ArtHunan University of TechnologyZhuzhouChina
  3. 3.Department of Polymer Materials and Engineering, College of Packaging and Materials EngineeringHunan University of TechnologyZhuzhouChina

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