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Cooperative Effects of Cellulose Nanocrystals and Sepiolite When Combined on Ionic Liquid Plasticised Chitosan Materials

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David XieORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) and/or sepiolite (SPT) were thermomechanically mixed with un-plasticised chitosan and chitosan/carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) blends plasticised with 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate ([C2mim][OAc]). Examination of the morphology of these materials indicates that SPT aggregates were reduced when CNCs or [C2mim][OAc] were present. Inclusion of CNCs and/or SPT had a greater effect on material properties when the matrices were un-plasticised. Addition of SPT or CNCs altered the crystalline structure of the un-plasticised chitosan matrix. Moreover, a combination of SPT and CNCs was more effective at suppressing re-crystallisation. Nonetheless, the mechanical properties and surface hydrophobicity were more related to CNC/SPT–biopolymer interactions. The un-plasticised bionanocomposites generally showed increased relaxation temperatures, enhanced tensile strength, and reduced surface wettability. For the [C2mim][OAc] plasticised matrices, the ionic liquid (IL) dominates the interactions with the biopolymers such that the effect of the nanofillers is diminished. However, for the [C2mim][OAc] plasticised chitosan/CMC matrix, CNCs and SPT acted synergistically suppressing re-crystallisation but resulting in increased tensile strength.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Chen P, Xie F, Tang F, McNally T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Polymers

Year: 2021

Volume: 13

Issue: 4

Print publication date: 14/02/2021

Online publication date: 14/02/2021

Acceptance date: 10/02/2021

Date deposited: 23/05/2023

ISSN (electronic): 2073-4360

Publisher: MDPI


DOI: 10.3390/polym13040571

Notes: Gold OA


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