All-cellulose composites from unbleached hardwood kraft pulp reinforced with nanofibrillated cellulose

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In the present work, nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) from bleached eucalyptus pulp was prepared, characterized and used as reinforcement in an unbleached eucalyptus fiber matrix. First, the NFC was fabricated through TEMPO-mediated oxidation and characterized for the degree of polymerization, water retention value, cationic demand and carboxyl content. Intrinsic mechanical properties were also calculated by applying the rule of mixtures, which determines the coupling (f c) and efficiency factor (η e) of cellulose nanofibrils within the matrix. The results showed that the average intrinsic tensile strength and Young's modulus of NFC are estimated to be 6,919 MPa and 161 GPa, respectively. After characterization, the NFC was used as reinforcement in the preparation of biocomposites in the form of paper handsheets, which were physically and mechanically analyzed. The presence of NFC induced an increase in the density of biocomposites and significant enhancement of the mechanical properties as well as an important reduction in porosity. Finally, f c and η e were determined from the mean intrinsic properties ​
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