Acetylation of chitin nanofibers and their transparent nanocomposite films.


Chitin nanofibers were acetylated to modify the fiber surface and were characterized in detail. The acetyl DS could be controlled from 0.99 to 2.96 by changing the reaction time. FT-IR spectra indicate that chitin nanofibers were acetylated completely after 50 min reaction time. X-ray diffraction profiles and TGA curves show that the chitin nanofibers were acetylated heterogeneously from the surface to the core. SEM images show that fiber shape was maintained even in the high-DS sample and that the thickness of the nanofibers increased with the introduction of bulky acetyl groups. Acetylated chitin nanofiber composites were fabricated with acrylic resin with the fiber content of approximately 25 wt %. Due to the size effect, all nanocomposites had high transparency, despite the variety of acetyl DS, and the transparency of the chitin nanofiber composite was less sensitive to acetylation. By only 1 min acetylation, the moisture absorption of the nanocomposite drastically decreased from 4.0 to 2.2%. Although the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of the tricyclodecane dimethanol dimethacrylate (TCDDMA) resin was 6.4 x 10(-5) degrees C(-1), the CTE of the chitin nanofiber/TCDDMA composite decreased to 2.3 x 10(-5) degrees C(-1) by the reinforcement effect of the chitin nanofibers with low thermal expansion.

DOI: 10.1021/bm100109a
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