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Scientific & Technical Article

Isolation of whiskers from natural sources and their dispersed in a non-aqueous medium

Vestena, Mauro; Gross, Idejan Padilha; Muller, Carmen Maria Olivera; Pires, Alfredo Tibúrcio Nunes
Whiskers have been used as a nanomaterial dispersed in polymer matrices to modify the microscopic and macroscopic properties of the polymer. These nanomaterials can be isolated from cellulose, one of the most abundant natural renewable sources of biodegradable polymer. In this study, whiskers were isolated from sugarcane bagasse and corn cob straw fibers. Initially, the cellulose fiber was treated through an alkaline/oxidative process followed by acid hydrolysis. Dimethylformamide and dimethyl sulfoxide were used to replace the aqueous medium for the dispersion of the whiskers. For the solvent exchange, dimethylformamide or dimethyl sulfoxide was added to the aqueous dispersion and the water was then removed by fractional distillation. FTIR, TGA, XRD, TEM, Zeta and DLS techniques were used to evaluate the efficiency of the isolation process as well as the morphology and dimensions of the whiskers. The dimensions of the whiskers are comparable with values reported in the literature, maintaining the uniformity and homogeneity in both aqueous and non-aqueous solvents.
whiskers, cellulose bleaching, agricultural waste.

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