Characterization of Cellulose Nanocrystals and Their Application in Polyethylene Composites

  • Author / Creator
    Kaufman, Gregory J
  • Cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) are an emerging green nanomaterial with a unique property set that permits its use to enhance traditional materials in various ways. One of the main focuses has been to impart the incredible mechanical stiffness of these nano particles into conventional thermoplastic polymers. The scope of this thesis will investigate CNC using infrared reflection adsorption spectroscopy (IRRAS) to firstly assign the bands of the unique spectrum of this technique. The surface selection rule that is inherent in IRRAS combined with knowledge of the bond orientations within CNC to the incident IR beam permits the assignment of previously unassigned bands including assigning the 1205 and 1145 cm-1 to modes of the pyranose ring. Secondly, IRRAS will be used to monitor the adsorption of CNC to a variety of surface functional groups. Three variables were controlled; the CNC concentration, the functionality of the aqueous CNC suspension, and the ionic strength of the aqueous CNC suspension. The density of these layers was estimated by comparing IRRAS signal intensities with AFM thickness images giving insight into CNC-CNC as well as CNC-substrate interactions. This same method will be applied to CNC that were modified with diazonium derived aryl groups. A combination of infrared (IR) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy were used to confirm surface modification and IRRAS was used to study the interactions of the modified CNC with various surfaces. Lastly the incorporation of modified CNC into a melt extrusion of the common thermoplastic high density polyethylene (HDPE) was performed. The addition of modified CNC to HDPE was compared to virgin PE as well as a composite of unmodified CNC and PE. The elastic modulus was obtained for all samples and a clear increase was observed only upon the addition of modified CNC where the elastic modulus increased by a factor of 2.7.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2016
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Gray, Derek (Chemistry)
    • Boluk, Yaman (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
    • Gibbs-Davis, Julianne (Chemistry)
    • Lucy, Chuck (Chemistry)