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Aligning cellulose nanofibril dispersions for tougher fibers


Wagermaier,  Wolfgang
Wolfgang Wagermaier, Biomaterialien, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Mohammadi, P., Toivonen, M. S., Ikkala, O., Wagermaier, W., & Linder, M. B. (2017). Aligning cellulose nanofibril dispersions for tougher fibers. Scientific Reports, 7(1): 11860. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-12107-x.

Nanocomposite materials made from cellulose show a great potential as future high-performance and sustainable materials. We show how high aspect ratio cellulose nanofibrils can be efficiently aligned in extrusion to fibers, leading to increased modulus of toughness (area under the stress-strain curve), Young’s modulus, and yield strength by increasing the extrusion capillary length, decreasing its diameter, and increasing the flow rate. The materials showed significant property combinations, manifesting as high modulus of toughness (~28–31 MJ/m3) vs. high stiffness (~19–20 GPa), and vs. high yield strength (~130–150 MPa). Wide angle X-ray scattering confirmed that the enhanced mechanical properties directly correlated with increased alignment. The achieved moduli of toughness are approximately double or more when compared to values reported in the literature for corresponding strength and stiffness. Our results highlight a possibly general pathway that can be integrated to gel-spinning process, suggesting the hypothesis that that high stiffness, strength and toughness can be achieved simultaneously, if the alignment is induced while the CNF are in the free-flowing state during the extrusion step by shear at relatively low concentration and in pure water, after which they can be coagulated.