Enhanced mechanical properties of epoxy composites using cellulose micro- and nano-crystals

Patricia Semaan, Abraham Zahran, Inge Schlapp-Hackl, Ali R. Tehrani-Bagha*, Samir Mustapha*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Epoxy polymers are commonly utilized in structural applications due to their high bearing capacity and excellent chemical resistance. However, their inherent brittleness poses a significant challenge for their use in high shock and fracture strength products. To address this shortcoming, fillers can be incorporated into the polymer during preparation. In this study, we aimed to investigate the effect of incorporating cellulose-based fillers, namely cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) and microcrystalline cellulose (MCC), on the mechanical properties of epoxy polymer composites. The study evaluated the impact of various factors, including filler concentration, particle size, and moisture content, on the mechanical properties of the composites. The results demonstrated that the incorporation of CNC or MCC powders at concentrations below 5% could enhance the mechanical properties of the resulting epoxy composites without adversely affecting their surface and thermal properties. The maximum tensile strength and fracture toughness of the filler-based epoxy composites were achieved at 2 and 4 wt% for CNCs and MCC, respectively. CNCs with a smaller particle size distribution were found to be much more effective than MCC in improving the mechanical properties of the epoxy composites. Furthermore, utilizing dried fillers resulted in a higher improvement in tensile strength, which was achieved at lower filler concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere55180
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Applied Polymer Science
Issue number14
Early online date17 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • epoxy composite
  • filler water content
  • mechanical properties
  • microcrystalline cellulose
  • nanocrystalline cellulose


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