Elastic models coupling the cellulose nanofibril to the macroscopic film level
The mechanical behaviour of cellulose nanofibrils is typically characterized by casting thin films and performing tensile tests on strips cut from these films. When comparing the stiffness of different films, the stiffness of the nanofibrils is only qualitatively and indirectly compared. This study provides some schemes based on various models of fibre networks, or laminated films, which can be used to assess the inherent stiffness of the nanofibrils from the stiffness of the films. Films of cellulose nanofibrils from different raw materials were manufactured and the elastic properties were measured. The expressions relating the nanofibril stiffness and the film stiffness were compared for the presented models. A model based on classical laminate theory showed the best balance between simplicity and adequacy of the underlying assumptions among the presented models. Using this model, the contributing nanofibril stiffness was found to range from 20 to 27 GPa. The nanofibril stiffness was also calculated from mechanical properties of nanofibril films found in the literature and compared with measurements from independent test methods of nanofibril stiffness. All stiffness values were found to be comparable and within the same order of magnitude.