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Mechanical properties of UV-waterborne varnishes reinforced by cellulose nanocrystals


There are many instances in the literature of nanocellulose-thermoplastic composites, but there are few studies on coatings reinforced by cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs). The overall objective of this research was to develop organic nanoparticles-reinforced UV-water-based coatings for wood applications and to study the effect, mainly on wear properties, of the final composite coatings. CNC was mixed in the varnishes to improve the mechanical properties of the coatings. One of the key aspects in the technology of nanocomposites remains the dispersion of the nanoparticles within the matrix as well as its affinity with the matrix. To quantify the dispersion, efficient methods of characterization are needed in order to reveal the nanosized particles. In this article, a novel characterization method based on atomic force microscopy was employed to characterize such nanocomposite coatings, by measuring surface nanoroughness, which is clearly correlated with quality of dispersion and mechanical properties. CNC was modified by either alkyl quaternary ammonium bromides or acryloyl chloride. The mechanical properties (abrasion and scratch resistances, hardness and adhesion) were analyzed and compared to the reference varnish without nanoparticles. The modified CNC addition in UV-water-based coatings results in an approximately 30–40% increase in wear resistance (abrasion and scratch), without any loss of appearance.

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Thanks to the Fonds de Recherche Nature et Technologie du Québec, the Conseil de Recherches en Sciences Naturelles et Génie du Canada, and Arboranano for funding this research as well as FPInnovations’ pilot plant for the production of CNC.

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Correspondence to Bernard Riedl.

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Vardanyan, V., Poaty, B., Chauve, G. et al. Mechanical properties of UV-waterborne varnishes reinforced by cellulose nanocrystals. J Coat Technol Res 11, 841–852 (2014).

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  • Cellulose nanocrystals
  • CNC
  • Coating
  • Dispersion
  • Surface modification
  • Mechanical properties
  • Wear resistance