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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2016, Article ID 9569236, 10 pages
Research Article

Preparation and Viscoelastic Properties of Composite Fibres Containing Cellulose Nanofibrils: Formation of a Coherent Fibrillar Network

Tobias Moberg,1,2,3 Hu Tang,4 Qi Zhou,2,3,4 and Mikael Rigdahl1,2,3

1Department of Materials and Manufacturing Technology, Chalmers University of Technology, 412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden
2Wallenberg Wood Science Center, Chalmers University of Technology, 412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden
3Royal Institute of Technology, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
4Royal Institute of Technology, School of Biotechnology, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

Received 15 March 2016; Revised 2 June 2016; Accepted 16 June 2016

Academic Editor: Ilker S. Bayer

Copyright © 2016 Tobias Moberg et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Composite fibres with a matrix of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) as reinforcing elements were produced using a capillary viscometer. Two types of CNF were employed: one based on carboxymethylated pulp fibres and the other on TEMPO-oxidized pulp. Part of the latter nanofibrils was also grafted with PEG in order to improve the compatibility between the CNF and the PEG matrix. The nominal CNF-content was kept at 10 or 30 weight-%. The composite fibres were characterized by optical and scanning electron microscopy in addition to dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA). Evaluation of the storage modulus indicated a clear reinforcing effect of the CNF, more pronounced in the case of the grafted CNF and depending on the amount of CNF. An interesting feature observed during the DMTA-measurements was that the fibrils within the composite fibres appeared to form a rather coherent and load-bearing network which was evident even after removing of the PEG-phase (by melting). An analysis of the modulus of the composite fibres using a rather simple model indicated that the CNF were more efficient as reinforcing elements at lower concentrations which may be associated with a more pronounced aggregation as the volume fraction of CNF increased.