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Using Cellulose Nanocrystals as a Sustainable Additive to Enhance Hydrophilicity, Mechanical and Thermal Properties of Poly(vinylidene fluoride)/Poly(methyl methacrylate) Blend

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journal contribution
posted on 06.04.2015, 00:00 by Zhen Zhang, Qinglin Wu, Kunlin Song, Suxia Ren, Tingzhou Lei, Quanguo Zhang
The aim of this study is to use cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) as a sustainable additive for improving hydrophilicity, mechanical and thermal properties of poly­(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF)/poly­(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) blends. A casting-evaporation method was used to prepare the nanocomposites, and their surface wettability, mechanical, thermal and morphological properties were characterized. With the addition of only 3 wt% CNCs, tensile strength, tensile modulus, dynamic storage modulus at 45 °C, and onset thermal decomposition temperature of the ternary composite exhibited 32%, 70%, 36% and 4.0 °C increase, respectively, while the static water angle decreased by 6°. As the CNC content increased to 6 wt %, further improvement was observed in all above properties except tensile strength. The observed performance enhancement is attributed to a considerably increased crystallinity of PVDF (e.g., from 28.5% for the binary blend to 43.3% for ternary composite at the 3 wt % CNC level). Our present work demonstrates the importance of using sustainable CNCs to achieve synergetic improvement in physical and mechanical performance of PVDF/PMMA blend, suggesting a facile way to prepare nanocomposites for potential membrane-based separation applications.