Theoretical and experimental study of the stiffness of electrospun composites of poly(vinyl alcohol), cellulose nanofibers, and nanohydroxy apatite

Abstract

The present study aims to theoretically model and verify the mechanical behavior of electrospun fibers of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) reinforced by nanohydroxy apatite (nHAp) and cellulose nanofibers (CNF), the three composites designated as PVA/nHAp, PVA/CNF, and PVA/nHAp/CNF. Tensile tests and AFM nanoindentation studies were used to measure tensile modulus of electrospun scaffolds and single fibers respectively. Halpin–Tsai and Ouali models were applied to predict the stiffness of electrospun mats. Theoretical analysis according to the Halpin–Tsai model showed that CNF have no preferred orientation in the electrospun fibers, particularly at higher filler content. Additionally, this model provided a better prediction than Ouali model, especially at lower filler content. Theoretical models based on the geometry of an unit cell in open-cell structure such as honeycomb, tetrakaidecahedron and cube models simulate electrospun scaffolds. Among the structural models for analysis of porous scaffolds, the honeycomb model showed the best prediction, tetrakaidecahedron model—a moderate one, and cube model was the worst. In general, it was proved by both experiment and theory that the porous structure of electrospun mat caused significant modulus reduction of nanocomposites.

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Reproduced with permission from Lee and Ramesh (2004)

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Acknowledgments

We acknowledge the Institute of Fundamental Technological Research, Polish Academy of Sciences (IPPT PAN), Laboratory of Polymers and Biomaterials, and Institute of High Pressure Physics, Polish Academy of Sciences for providing facilities, materials, and their scientific assistance. Part of this research was carried out with the use of CePT infrastructure financed by the European Regional Development Fund within the Operational Program “Innovative Economy” for 2007–2013.

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Correspondence to T. Behzad.

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Enayati, M.S., Behzad, T., Sajkiewicz, P.Ł. et al. Theoretical and experimental study of the stiffness of electrospun composites of poly(vinyl alcohol), cellulose nanofibers, and nanohydroxy apatite. Cellulose 25, 65–75 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10570-017-1601-6

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Keywords

  • Nanocomposites
  • Cellulose nanofibers
  • Electrospinning
  • Modulus