One-step and eco-friendly modification of cellulose membranes by polymer grafting
The increasing environmental awareness has stimulated the use of bio-based materials and processes. As an affordable and sustainable biopolymer, cellulose is an ideal engineering material. Beyond paper, cellulose finds applications in many areas such as composites, electronics and drug delivery. To fulfil these new functions, cellulose needs to acquire new properties, which is commonly done by graft polymerization of acrylic compounds. While cellulose modification is usually performed through complex and expensive procedures, the diazonium-based polymer grafting procedure presented here was performed in water, at room temperature, in a short single step. Cellulose sheets have been successfully grafted with several acrylic polymers, first globally through a dipping procedure and then locally by inkjet printing. The process developed herein is simple, eco-friendly and mostly time and cost-saving. More generally, it is a powerful tool for easy, robust and patterned graft copolymerization of cellulose sheets with various acrylic monomers and even bio-based monomers.