Biodegradable nanocomposites from cellulosic plastics and cellulosic fibre
Cellulose is the most abundant polymer in nature and is an excellent biobased, renewable resource for sustainable development. Cellulose can be converted to plastics via certain methods, but the more important aspect of the cellulose is its utilization as reinforcing fibers in polymer matrices obtained either from petrochemical resources or biobased resources. With the advancement of nanotechnology, cellulose has taken special attention, especially as a nano size reinforcing phase, since it has a modulus value of a 150 GPa. In the last decade, there have been few publications in the area of cellulose nanocomposites since it is still in the very early stages of development with many challenges to be solved. There are different problems with cellulose nanocomposites, such as how to economically prepare nanocellulose, how to disperse nanocellulose in polymer matrices without agglomerations, overcoming the strong hydrogen bonds between the cellulose fibers, and how to process cellulose nanocomposites to provide optimum properties. In this chapter, all the recent studies in nanocellulose are summarized, while also providing insights to future trends. In the future, nanocellulose offers many new exciting applications, such as light emitting diodes, and biomedical applications. Developments in the genetic sciences will have a great impact on the materials science area of cellulose materials. Better characterization and fundamental studies on cellulose nanocomposites will create new applications which could lead to replacement of many available polymers, and other materials.
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