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Original Article

Reinforcement of poly (vinyl alcohol) films with alpha-chitin nanowhiskers

Lisboa, Hugo
Abstract:
Composites Films were produced using Poly (Vinyl Alcohol) as the soft material and reinforced with Chitin Nanowhiskers(NWCH) as the rigid material. The present work studies the reinforcing mechanisms of NWCH in PVA films, made through a solvent casting technique and characterized for their calorimetric, swelling and mechanical properties. DSC tests revealed a sharp increase of 45 °C in glass transition temperatures with only 1.5% NWCH, while melting temperature had a small increases suggesting an anti-plasticizing effect. Swelling tests revealed decreasing hygoscopy when NWCH volume fraction increases. Estimates for elastic tensile modulus using a model that predicts the formation of a percolating network were not consistent with the experimental data of tensile tests suggesting that contrary to the reinforcement with cellulose nanowhiskers the percolating network is not primarily responsible for the reinforcement of the films. By adjusting the Halpin-Tsai equations, modified by Nielsen it was found that the mechanical properties were mainly influenced by the packing of the NWCH.
Keywords:
Chitin, Nanocomposites, PVA, Nanowhiskers, Reinforcement


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