Impregnation of paper with cellulose nanocrystal reinforced polyvinyl alcohol: synergistic effect of infrared drying and CNC content on crystallinity†
Paper was impregnated with neat polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) or cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) reinforced PVOH, and dried by infrared radiation. Complex phenomena involved during paper impregnation and drying have been rarely investigated in the scientific literature, although these steps are crucial for the properties of the ensuing paper. The drying kinetics was studied and it showed that CNC tends to reduce the skin effect classically observed during fast PVOH drying. Furthermore, the nanoparticles induced faster water removal at the end of the drying step, which can be explained by an increase of the absorbed heat flux density. In addition, PVOH crystallization mechanisms have been studied through classical equations (Avrami, and Arrhenius) and a model (the Hoffman–Weeks method) and it was proved that both the drying conditions and the presence of CNC act on the crystallization of the polymer.