Arabinoxylan/nanofibrillated cellulose composite films
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There is an increasing interest in substituting petroleum based polymer films, for food packaging applications, with films based on renewable resources. In many of these applications, low oxygen permeability and low moisture uptake of films are required, as well as high enough strength and flexibility. For this purpose, rye arabinoxylan films reinforced with nanofibrillated cellulose was prepared and evaluated. A thorough mixing of the components resulted in uniform films. Mechanical, thermal, structural, moisture sorption and oxygen barrier characteristics of such films are reported here. Reinforcement of arabinoxylan with nanofibrillated cellulose affected the properties of the films positively. A decrease in moisture sorption of the films, as well as an increase in stiffness, strength and flexibility of the films were shown. From these results and dynamic FTIR spectra, a strong coupling between reinforcing cellulose and arabinoxylan matrix was concluded. Oxygen barrier properties were equal or better as compared to the neat rye arabinoxylan film. In general, the high nanofibrillated cellulose containing composite film, i.e. 75 % NFC, showed the best properties.
The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation are gratefully acknowledged for funding through the Wallenberg Wood Science Center. The authors thank Dr Aihua Pei for assistance in procuring the NFC and for fruitful discussions on the film casting techniques, Anders Mårtensson for providing the SEM micrographs and AFM measurements, Anne-Mari Olsson for performing the DVS and Therese Johansson for performing O2 permeability measurements.
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