Carbohydr Polym 2017 Mar 12;159:116-124. Epub 2016 Dec 12.
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA 70503, USA. Electronic address:
We report a novel nanohybrid shish-kebab (NHSK) architecture of cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) and a block copolymer, (polyethylene-b-polyethylene glycol) (PE-b-PEG). Cellulose microfibers were ultrasonically dispersed to generate cellulose nanofibers in the size range of 50±10nm in diameter, while the block copolymer was crystallized using a solution crystallization approach to prepare NHSK. This unique approach allows the flocculated NHSK product to transfer quickly from toluene to ethanol, in order to shorten the preparation time. Morphological analysis reveals, for the first time, that nanocellulose can be used to induce crystallization of a block copolymer to generate NHSK and trans-crystalline structure. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) results reveals the crystal morphology and crystallinity changes by virtue of crystallization. The ordered periodic growth and alignment of polymer crystals is recognized as the virtue of molecular origin of extended polymer chains. The proposed hypothesis affords elucidation of NHSK architecture and promotes the designing of novel nanohybrids with controllable functionality.