High modulus regenerated cellulose fibers spun from a low molecular weight microcrystalline cellulose solution
Van Duijneveldt, JS
ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering
American Chemical Society
This is an open access article published under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the author and source are cited.
We have developed a novel process to convert low molecular weight microcrystalline cellulose into stiff regenerated cellulose fibers using a dry-jet wet fiber spinning process. Highly aligned cellulose fibers were spun from optically anisotropic microcrystalline cellulose/1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium diethyl phosphate (EMImDEP) solutions. As the cellulose concertation increased from 7.6 wt% to 12.4 wt%, the solution texture changed from completely isotropic to weakly nematic. Higher concentration solutions (>15 wt%) showed strongly optically anisotropic patterns, with clearing temperatures ranging from 80 °C to 90 °C. Cellulose fibers were spun from 12.4 wt%, 15.2 wt% and 18.0 wt% cellulose solutions. The physical properties of these fibers were studied by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Wide Angle X-ray Diffraction (WAXD) and tensile testing. The 18.0 wt% cellulose fibers, with an average diameter of ~20 μm, possessed high Young’s modulus up to ~22 GPa, moderately high tensile strength of ~305MPa, as well as high alignment of cellulose chains along the fiber axis confirmed by X-ray diffraction. This process presents a new route to convert microcrystalline cellulose, which is usually used for low mechanical performance applications (matrix for pharmaceutical tablets and food ingredients, etc.) into stiff fibers which can potentially be used for high performance composite materials.
This research work is funded by Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC, grant code EP/L017679/1). We thank Jon Jones for help with Scanning Electron Microscope studies carried out in the Chemical Imaging Facility, University of Bristol. The Scanning Electron Microscope and the Ganesha X-ray scattering apparatus used for this work were supported through an EPSRC Grant “Atoms to Applications” Grant ref. EP/K035746/1.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.
2016, 4 (9), pp 4545–4553