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Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Lignin coated cellulose nanocrystals Increase Shipment Temperature Strength and Allow Blown Film Production

Photo of Image of blown films in lab scale tower showing unstable balloon (with die temperature at 160 degrees Celsius and (b) PLA/L-CNC-0.3 percent composite with stable balloon (with die temperature at 160 degrees Celsius). Image of blown films in lab scale tower showing unstable balloon (with die temperature at 160 degrees Celsius and (b) PLA/L-CNC-0.3 percent composite with stable balloon (with die temperature at 160 degrees Celsius). Snapshot : Wood based nanomaterials enable higher use temperatures, greater strength, and faster productions cycles of renewable plastic.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Schueneman, Gregory 
Research Location : Atlanta, GA
Research Station : Forest Products Laboratory (FPL)
Year : 2017
Highlight ID : 1297

Summary

The Clark Atlanta University and Forest Service researchers at the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisc., blended lignin-coated cellulose nanocrystals, or L-CNCs, and poly(lactic acid), or PLA, using industrially scalable melt compounding. The resulting composites were transparent, had a seven-fold increase in crystallinity with significantly more favorable crystallization kinetic and thermodynamic parameters. Rheological and mechanical behavior characterization revealed a significant increase in melt viscosity and modulus. The increase in viscosity allowed stable blow film production of films, not possible with pure PLA. The modulus increase was especially promising above the glass transition temperature where unfilled PLA loses most of its strength. This requires PLA service ware to be shipped in refrigerated trucks. The nucleating effect of the L-CNC is similar to that of the agent Nature Works LLC currently recommends and is under further study towards understanding its mechanism and improving its performance.

Additional Resources

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Clark Atlanta University

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