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Recyclable grease-proof cellulose nanocomposites with enhanced water resistance for food serving applications

Abstract

Recyclable cellulose nanofibril (CNF) and lignin-containing cellulose nanofibril (LCNF) coated wood flour composites were fabricated using a vacuum-filtration process for food serving applications. The coated cellulose nanofibril composites had excellent mechanical, and oil, and grease barrier properties compared to a commercial container. However, the composites with both LCNF and CNF coating layers had poor performance in wet conditions compared to the commercial container. The addition of 1 wt.% aluminum sulfate (alum) to the CNF and LCNF coating layer significantly improved the water-resistance of the composites. CNF + 1% alum coated composites had inferior water resistance and lower mechanical strength in wet conditions compared to the commercial container. However, the LCNF + 1% alum coated composites had comparable water resistance and higher wet mechanical properties than the commercial container. The recyclability of the composites was assessed through the disintegration of the samples in water and subsequent reformation, and it was found that the composites were fully recyclable. The composites could fully retain their mechanical and excellent oil and grease barrier properties after each recycling level. These recyclable fully bio-based nanocomposites can be an eco-friendly alternative for currently used food container systems that use harmful chemicals.

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Abbreviations

CNF:

Cellulose nanofibril

LCNF:

Lignin-containing cellulose nanofibril

LDPE:

Low-density polyethylene

PLA:

Polylactic acid

PFA:

Per or poly-fluoroalkyl

AKD:

Alkyl ketene dimer

BKP:

Bleached kraft pulp

UBKP:

Unbleached kraft pulp

OCC:

Old corrugated container

SFE:

Surface free energy

SEM:

Scanning electron microscope

EDS:

Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy

FTIR:

Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy

ATR:

Attenuated total reflectance

MOE:

Modulus of elasticity

MOR:

Modulus of rupture

MRT:

Modulus retention term

ANOVA:

Analysis of variance

DMRT:

Duncan’s multiple range test

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Funding

This work was supported by USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) [Project # 58–0204-6–003].

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Correspondence to Mehdi Tajvidi.

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The authors have no conflict of interests for this article.

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This study does not involve any human or animal subjects.

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The manuscript was written through contributions of all authors. All authors have given approval to the final version of the manuscript.

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Hossain, R., Tajvidi, M., Bousfield, D. et al. Recyclable grease-proof cellulose nanocomposites with enhanced water resistance for food serving applications. Cellulose 29, 5623–5643 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10570-022-04608-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10570-022-04608-4

Keywords

  • Cellulose nanomaterials
  • Wood flour
  • Food containers
  • Recyclability
  • Water resistance