Title page for ETD etd-10222010-182711

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Johnson, Richard Kwesi
Author's Email Address rijohns6@vt.edu
URN etd-10222010-182711
Title TEMPO-oxidized Nanocelluloses: Surface Modification and use as Additives in Cellulosic Nanocomposites
Degree PhD
Department Macromolecular Science and Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Zink-Sharp, Audrey G. Committee Chair
Esker, Alan R. Committee Member
Frazier, Charles E. Committee Member
Glasser, Wolfgang G. Committee Member
Renneckar, Scott H. Committee Member
Roman, Maren Committee Member
  • ionic complexation
  • amidation
  • octadecylamine
  • surface modification
  • nanocomposite
  • TEMPO-oxidized
  • nanocellulose
  • thermal decomposition
Date of Defense 2010-08-18
Availability unrestricted
The process of TEMPO-mediated oxidation has gained broad usage towards the preparation of highly charged, carboxyl-functionalized polysaccharides. TEMPO-oxidized nanocelluloses (TONc) of high surface charge and measuring 3 to 5 nm in width have been recently prepared from TEMPO-oxidized pulp. This study examines as-produced and surface-hydrophobized TONc as reinforcing additives in cellulosic polymer matrices. In the first part of the work, covalent (amidation) and non-covalent (ionic complexation) coupling were compared as treatment techniques for the hydrophobization of TONc surfaces with octadecylamine (ODA). Subsequently, TONc and its covalently coupled derivative were evaluated as nanofiber reinforcements in a cellulose acetate butyrate (CAB) matrix. The properties of the resulting nanocomposites were compared with those of similarly prepared ones reinforced with conventional microfibrillated cellulose (MFC).

It was found that both ionic complexation and amidation resulted in complete conversion of carboxylate groups on TONc surfaces. As a result of surface modification, the net crystallinity of TONc was lowered by 15 to 25% but its thermal decomposition properties were not significantly altered. With respect to nanocomposite performance, the maximum TONc reinforcement of 5 vol % produced negligible changes to the optical transmittance behavior and a 22-fold increase in tensile storage modulus in the glass transition region of CAB. In contrast, hydrophobized TONc and MFC deteriorated the optical transmittance of CAB by ca 20% and increased its tensile storage modulus in the glass transition region by only 3.5 and 7 times respectively. These differences in nanocomposite properties were attributed to homogeneous dispersion of TONc compared to aggregation of both the hydrophobized derivative and the MFC reference in CAB matrix. A related study comparing TONc with MFC and cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) as reinforcements in hydroxypropylcellulose (HPC), showed TONc reinforcements as producing the most significant changes to HPC properties. The results of dynamic mechanical analysis and creep compliance measurements could be interpreted based on similar arguments as those made for the CAB-based nanocomposites.

Overall, this work revealed that the use of TONc (without the need for surface hydrophobization) as additives in cellulosic polymer matrices leads to superior reinforcing capacity and preservation of matrix transparency compared to the use of conventional nanocelluloses.

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