Evolution of carbon nanostructure during pyrolysis of homogeneous chitosan-cellulose composite fibers

Hilda Zahra, Daisuke Sawada, Shogo Kumagai, Yu Ogawa, Leena-Sisko Johansson, Yanling Ge, Chamseddine Guizani, Toshiaki Yoshioka, Michael Hummel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
85 Downloads (Pure)


Chitosan-cellulose composite fibers spun using a Lyocell technology are characterized by a homogeneous distribution and a close packing of the two biopolymers inside the fibrous matrix. Due to the intimate contact of cellulose and chitosan, synergistic effects can be observed during the pyrolysis of the composite fibers. In this study, the catalytic role of chitosan in altering the cellulose pyrolysis pathway in the composite fibers at moderate treatment temperatures up to 900 °C is confirmed. Analyses of the evolved gases during pyrolysis revealed that chitosan promoted cellulose dehydration and substantially decreased the formation of levoglucosan, explaining the higher char yield. The enhanced dehydration reaction is associated with the formation of intermolecular crosslinks due to the incorporation of nitrogen from chitosan in the resulting carbon structures. Nitrogen could also contribute to the in-plane disorder in the aromatic clusters when the pyrolysis is carried out at 500–700 °C, although the in-plane disorder is less noticeable from 700 to 900 °C. Nevertheless, the size of the aromatic cluster continues to grow when the composite fibers are pyrolyzed in a temperature range of 500–900 °C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-38
Number of pages12
Early online date7 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Carbon fiber
  • Carbon nanostructure
  • Cellulose
  • Chitosan
  • Dehydration catalyst
  • Pyrolysis


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