Chemical Functionalization of Cellulosic Fibers for Green Polymer Composites Applications

  • Manju Kumari Thakur
  • Aswinder Rana
  • Vijay Kumar Thakur


During the last few decades, synthetic polymers have emerged as new potential viable alternative to traditional metallic and ceramic materials due to their inherent properties such as flexibility, light weight, corrosion resistance, and easy processing. However, these synthetic polymers also pose some serious threats to our environments due to the toxic and hazardous chemicals associated during their synthesis and afterward their end use applications. Although these synthetic polymers have benefited the human being to a great extent, recently efforts are being made to reduce their use. The prime reason for this is the increasing environmental awareness and health concerns. All these concerns have led to intensive research on natural polymer-based materials derived from different biorenewable resources. Among bio-based polymers, cellulose fibers offer a very high potential as biodegradable biorenewable material. However, the presence of hydrophilic groups on natural cellulosic fibers limits their applications in everyday use. In order to overcome the disadvantages associated with these fibers, graft copolymerization is the most trusted tool to alter their properties for targeted applications. So in the present book chapter we report some of our studies on the chemical functionalization of natural cellulosic fibers through free radical-induced graft copolymerization technique.


Biofibers Environments Surface functionalization Physico-chemical properties 



Authors would like to thank their parental institute for providing the necessary facilities to accomplish the present research project.


  1. Amash A, Zugenmaier P (1998) Study on cellulose and xylan filled polypropylene composites. Polym Bull 40:251–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Averous L (2004) Biodegradable multiphase systems based on plasticized starch: a review. J Macromol Sci Polymer Rev 44:231–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bledzki AK, Gassan J (1999) Composites reinforced with cellulose based fibers. Prog Polym Sci 24:221–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Debapriya D, Adhikari B (2004) The effect of grass fiber filler on curing characteristics and mechanical properties of natural rubber. Polym Adv Technol 15:708–715CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dhakal HN, Zhang ZY, Richardson MOW (2007) Effect of water absorption on the mechanical properties of hemp fibre reinforced unsaturated polyester composites. Compos Sci Technol 67:1674–1683CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dufresne A, Cavaill J-Y, Vignon MR (1997) Mechanical behavior of sheets prepared from sugar beet cellulose microfibrils. J Appl Polym Sci 64:1185–1194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dufresne A, Kellerhals MB, Witholt B (1999) Transcrystallization in mcl-HAs/cellulose whiskers composites. Macromolecules 32:7396–7401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hagstrand PO, Oksman K (2001) Mechanical properties and morphology of flax fiber reinforced melamine- formaldehyde composites. Polym Compos 22:568–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hasipoglu HN, Yilmaz E, Yilmaz O, Caner H (2005) Preparation and characterization of maleic acid grafted chitosan. Int J Polym Anal Charact 10:313–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kabir MM, Wang H, Lau KT, Cardona F, Aravinthan T (2012) Mechanical properties of chemically-treated hemp fibre reinforced sandwich composites. Compos B Eng 43:159–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Klemm D, Heublein B, Fink H-P, Bohn A (2005) Cellulose: fascinating biopolymer and sustainable raw material. Angew Chem Int Ed 44:3358–3393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Montford S, Small E (1999) A comparison of the biodiversity friendliness of crops with special reference to hemp (Cannabis sativa L.). J Int Hemp Assoc 6:53–63Google Scholar
  13. Ouajai S, Shanks RA (2009) Biocomposites of cellulose acetate butyrate with modified hemp cellulose fibres. Macromol Mater Eng 294:213–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Panthapulakkal S, Zereshkian A, Sain M (2006) Preparation and characterization of wheat straw fibers for reinforcing application in injection molded thermoplastic composites. Bioresour Technol 97:265–272PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Shanks RA, Hodzic A, Ridderhof D (2006) Composites of poly (lactic acid) with flax fibers modified by interstitial polymerization. J Appl Polym Sci 99:2305–2313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Shibata M, Yamazoe K, Kuribayashi M, Okuyama Y (2013) All-wood biocomposites by partial dissolution of wood flour in 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride. J Appl Polym Sci 127:4802–4808CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Singha AS, Thakur VK (2010) Synthesis and characterization of short grewia optiva fiber-based polymer composites. Polym Compos 31:459–470Google Scholar
  18. Singha AS, Thakur VK (2012) Green polymer materials. Studium Press, HoustonGoogle Scholar
  19. Thakur VK, Singha AS (2010a) KPS-initiated graft copolymerization onto modified cellulosic biofibers. Int J Polym Anal Charact 15:471–485CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Thakur VK, Singha AS (2010b) Natural fibres-based polymers: part I-mechanical analysis of pine needles reinforced biocomposites. Bull Mater Sci 33:257–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Thakur VK, Singha AS (2011) Rapid synthesis, characterization, and physicochemical analysis of biopolymer-based graft copolymers. Int J Polym Anal Charact 16:153–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Thakur VK, Singha AS, Misra BN (2011a) Graft copolymerization of methyl methacrylate onto cellulosic biofibers. J Appl Polym Sci 122:532–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Thakur VK, Singha AS, Thakur MK (2011b) Green composites from natural cellulosic fibers. LAP Lambert Academic, SaarbrückenGoogle Scholar
  24. Thakur VK, Singha AS, Thakur MK (2012a) Graft copolymerization of methyl acrylate onto cellulosic biofibers: synthesis, characterization and applications. J Polym Environ 20:164–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Thakur VK, Singha AS, Thakur MK (2012b) Biopolymers based green composites: mechanical, thermal and physico-chemical characterization. J Polym Environ 20:412–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Thakur VK, Singha AS, Thakur MK (2012c) Surface modification of natural polymers to impart low water absorbency. Int J Polym Anal Charact 17:133–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Thakur VK, Singha AS, Thakur MK (2012d) In-air graft copolymerization of ethyl acrylate onto natural cellulosic polymers. Int J Polym Anal Charact 17:48–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Thakur VK, Thakur MK, Gupta RK (2013a) Synthesis of lignocellulosic polymer with improved chemical resistance through free radical polymerization. Int J Biol Macromol 61:121–126PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Thakur VK, Thakur MK, Gupta RK (2013b). Graft – copolymers from natural polymers using free radical0 polymerization. Int J Polym Anal Charact; 18(7). doi: 10.1080/1023666X.2013.814241
  30. Thakur VK, Thakur MK, Gupta RK (2013c) Rapid synthesis of graft copolymers from natural cellulose fibers. Carbohydr Polym 98:820–828PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Thakur VK, Thakur MK, Gupta RK (2013d) Graft copolymers from cellulose: synthesis, characterization and evaluation. Carbohydr Polym 97:18–25PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Thakur VK, Thakur MK, Gupta RK (2013e) Development of functionalized cellulosic biopolymers by graft copolymerization. Int J Biol Macromol 62:44–51. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2013.08.026 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wambua P, Ivens J, Verpoest I (2003) Natural fibres: can they replace glass in fibre reinforced plastics? Compos Sci Technol 63:1259–1264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wong S, Shanks RA, Hodzic A (2007) Effect of additives on the interfacial strength of poly (l-lactic acid) and poly (3-hydroxy butyric acid)-flax fibre composites. Compos Sci Technol 67:2478–2484CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of ChemistryGovt. Degree College Sarkaghat, Himachal Pradesh UniversityShimlaIndia
  2. 2.Department of ChemistrySri Sai University, Himachal Pradesh UniversityShimlaIndia
  3. 3.School of Mechanical and Materials EngineeringWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

Personalised recommendations