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Interplay between Structure and Dynamics in Chitosan Films Investigated with Solid-State NMR, Dynamic Mechanical Analysis, and X-ray Diffraction

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journal contribution
posted on 16.12.2015, 18:46 authored by Carmiña Gartner, Betty Lucy López, Ligia Sierra, Robert Graf, Hans W. Spiess, Marianne Gaborieau
Modern solid-state NMR techniques, combined with X-ray diffraction, revealed the molecular origin of the difference in mechanical properties of self-associated chitosan films. Films cast from acidic aqueous solutions were compared before and after neutralization, and the role of the counterion (acetate vs Cl) was investigated. There is a competition between local structure and long-range order. Hydrogen bonding gives good mechanical strength to neutralized films, which lack long-range organization. The long-range structure is better defined in films cast from acidic solutions in which strong electrostatic interactions cause rotational distortion around the chitosan chains. Plasticization by acetate counterions enhances long-range molecular organization and film flexibility. In contrast, Cl counterions act as a defect and impair the long-range organization by immobilizing hydration water. Molecular motion and proton exchange are restricted, resulting in brittle films despite the high moisture content.