Native cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) were prepared from bleached birch pulp without any chemical or enzymatic pretreatment. These CNF were modified by adsorption of a small amount of water-soluble polysaccharides and used to prepare nanopapers, which were processed into composites by lamination with an epoxy resin and subsequently cured. The results were compared to the properties of composites prepared using bacterial cellulose nanopapers, since bacterial cellulose constitutes highly pure and crystalline cellulose. It was found that both types of nanopapers significantly improved both the thermal stability and mechanical properties of the epoxy resin. As anticipated, addition of only 2 wt% of water-soluble polysaccharides efficiently hindered crack-propagation within the nanopaper and significantly improved the tensile strength and work of fracture compared to composites containing a conventional nanopaper reinforcement. The mechanical properties of the composites thus reflected the improvement of the nanopaper properties by the polysaccharides. Moreover, it was possible to predict the properties of the final composite from the mechanical performance of the nanopapers.
- Bacterial cellulose
- Epoxy resin