Thermoresponsive cryogels reinforced with cellulose nanocrystals
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Herein, we report the first study of thermoresponsive cryogels with cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) incorporated into the structure. Free radical polymerization was utilized to synthesize cryogels of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm), resulting in thermoresponsive gels after the cryo-polymerization. Two types of CNCs were investigated: one which had reactive vinyl groups on the surface, enabling covalent incorporation and crosslinking with the cryogel network; and one which had no reactive groups on the surface, rendering it physically embedded in the network. The degree of crosslinking of the cryogels was controlled by varying the addition of N,N´-methylenebisacrylamide (MBAm). The cryogels were analyzed by FE-SEM and were all found to be macroporous. The morphology of the gels was largely dependent on the reaction conditions and the presence of CNC. The swelling properties of the freeze-dried gels were investigated and all gels exhibited a thermoresponsive behavior. Our study showed that the incorporation of CNCs is an effective method to alter both the morphologies and the mechanical properties of a cryogel, although the final properties of the cryogels depend on several different parameters. Due to the complexity of the system, a clear trend regarding the CNC incorporation is difficult to conclude, but compression testing showed that a cryogel having 1 wt% of crosslinkable CNC was far superior to the other gels in terms of mechanical properties, exhibiting that the presence of crosslinkable groups on the surface of CNCs could have a large influence over the final properties.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-172931OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-172931DiVA: diva2:850777
QS 20152015-09-022015-09-022015-09-02Bibliographically approved