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Short Cellulose Nanofibrils Reinforce Aligned Polyvinyl Alcohol Fibers

Photo of Short cellulose nanofibrils isolated from wood. DSimaging, LLCShort cellulose nanofibrils isolated from wood. DSimaging, LLCSnapshot : Cellulose nanomaterials have recently gained much attention for their potential use for reinforcing polymers and for use in functional materials. Forest Service researchers developed procedures for creating short cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs) that are similar in shape and morphology to cellulose nanocrystals without the use of strong acid hydrolysis. They found that these CNFs provide reinforcement to oriented or drawn polyvinyl alcohol fibers.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Sabo, Ronald C.Clemons, Craig M.
Research Location : Forest Products Laboratory
Research Station : Forest Products Laboratory (FPL)
Year : 2014
Highlight ID : 587


Forest Service researchers investigated short cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs) as reinforcements for polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) films. These CNFs were mechanically isolated from hardwood pulp after enzymatic pretreatment. Various levels of short CNFs were added to an aqueous PVA solution, which were cast into composite films and then hot drawn with various draw ratios at 200 degrees Centigrade  (392 degrees Fahrenheit). These cellulose nanomaterials were effective in improving PVA fiber tensile properties (i.e., ultimate strength and elastic modulus). They hope that using cellulose nanomaterials to reinforce polymers, such as polyvinyl alcohol, will lead to stronger and improved products. One potential application is concrete reinforced with polyvinyl alcohol-cellulose nanofibril fibers.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Lih-Sheng Turng, University of Wisconsin-Madison