American Chemical Society
sc3c07633_si_004.avi (4.29 MB)

Microcrystalline Cellulose-Based Eraser

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posted on 2024-03-08, 15:45 authored by Jiaxiang Zhao, Guihua Yang, Xingxiang Ji, Cong Li, Xiaoxia Cai, Qiang Wang, Yanshao Liu, Fengshan Zhang
Eraser, the most widely used stationery item made of vulcanized rubbers or petroleum-based resins, is too common to draw attention. Its fragments falling off during the erasing process may appear small and insignificant; however, it should be noteworthy that they are in fact microplastics, which are hard to degrade in nature and pose significant threats to the ecological environment. In this work, a microcrystalline cellulose (MCC)-based elastomer was proposed that displays an impressive erasure effect combined with good biodegradability. This special erasure function is attributed to its unique microstructure, in which a very high loading of MCC (75 wt %) was achieved via a planetary centrifugal mixing of MCC and a polyethylene glycol-derived aqueous polyurethane (APE). Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed that MCC particles were uniformly coated with APE. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and swelling tests further clarified the specific interactions between APE and MCC. The oriented aggregation principle and Young’s equation were employed to describe the erasure behavior and elucidate the underlying mechanism. It indicated that APE played a key role in transferring pencil lead powders from paper to the eraser. SEM, Raman spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) indicated that MCC played another key role in facilitating the removal of pencil shavings from the eraser’s surface. This work provides a feasible thought for fabricating an “eco-eraser” based on commercially available MCC, which shows great potential in reducing the harm of eraser microplastics on the ecological environment and develops a brand new application of cellulose in composite materials.