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Issue 8, 2010
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Mechanical performance tailoring of tough ultra-high porosity foams prepared from cellulose I nanofiber suspensions

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Abstract

Low-density structures of mechanical function in plants, arthropods and other organisms, are often based on high-strength cellulose or chitin nanofibers and show an interesting combination of flexibility and toughness. Here, a series of plant-inspired tough and mechanically very robust cellular biopolymer foams with porosities as high as 99.5% (porosity range 93.1–99.5%) were therefore prepared by solvent-free freeze-drying from cellulose I wood nanofiber water suspensions. A wide range of mechanical properties was obtained by controlling density and nanofiber interaction in the foams, and density–property relationships were modeled and compared with those for inorganic aerogels. Inspired by cellulose–xyloglucan (XG) interaction in plant cell walls, XG was added during preparation of the toughest foams. For the cellulose–XG nanocomposite foams in particular, the mechanical properties at comparable densities were superior to those reported in the literature for clay aerogel/cellulose whisker nanocomposites, epoxy/clay aerogels, polymer/clay/nanotube aerogels, and polymer/silica aerogels. The foam structure was characterized by high-resolution field-emission scanning electron microscopy and the specific surface area was measured by nitrogen physisorption. Dynamic mechanical thermal analysis and uniaxial compression tests were performed. The foam was thermally stable up to 275 °C where cellulose started to degrade.

Graphical abstract: Mechanical performance tailoring of tough ultra-high porosity foams prepared from cellulose I nanofiber suspensions

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Article information


Submitted
04 Jan 2010
Accepted
15 Feb 2010
First published
08 Mar 2010

Soft Matter, 2010,6, 1824-1832
Article type
Paper

Mechanical performance tailoring of tough ultra-high porosity foams prepared from cellulose I nanofiber suspensions

H. Sehaqui, M. Salajková, Q. Zhou and L. A. Berglund, Soft Matter, 2010, 6, 1824
DOI: 10.1039/B927505C

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