Single halsa, Halsafjorden
Compounding of well-dispersed cellulose nanocomposites based on biodegradable polymers is challenging and commonly requires separate processes for wood fiber fibrillation into cellulose nanofibrils CNFfollowed by compounding.
Here, nanostructured biocomposites based on poly caprolactone PCL and holocellulose wood fibers HC were melt compounded in a single step. The grafting was performed by two different methods: the commonly used bulk method and a new approach using acetic acid AcOH as the reaction solvent to swell the fiber structure during grafting.
Remarkably, AcOH as a swelling solvent resulted in high density of grafts inside the nanostructure and throughout the volume of the HC wood cellulose fibers. As a consequence, more pronounced defibrillation of fibers into CNF during compounding as well as more uniform CNF dispersion in the thermoplastic PCL matrix was observed.
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In contrast, fibers grafted under bulk conditions showed little grafting and weak reinforcement effects. The results show a close connection between the single halsa structure and final material properties.