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pH-responsive cellulose–chitosan nanocomposite films with slow release of chitosan

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Author list: Dahlström, Christina;Edlund, Håkan;Lindman, Björn;Norgren, Magnus;Yang, Jiayi
Publication year: 2019
ISSN: 0969-0239

Abstract

Cellulose–chitosan films were preparedusing a physical method in which cellulose andchitosan were separately dissolved via freeze thawingin LiOH/urea and mixed in different proportions, theresulting films being cast and regenerated in water/ethanol. X-ray diffraction and Fourier transforminfrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) spectroscopy verifiedthe composition changes in the nanocomposites due todifferent mixing ratios between the polymers. Tensilestress–strain measurements indicated that the mechan-ical performance of the cellulose–chitosan nanocom-posites slightly worsened with increasing chitosancontent compared with that of films comprisingcellulose alone. Field emission scanning electronmicroscopy revealed the spontaneous formation ofnanofibers in the films; these nanofibers were subse-quently ordered into lamellar structures. Water uptakeand microscopy analysis of film thickness changesindicated that the swelling dramatically increased atlower pH and with increasing chitosan content, thisbeing ascribed to the Gibbs–Donnan effect. Slowmaterial loss appeared at acidic pH, as indicated by aloss of weight, and quantitative FT-IR analysisconfirmed that chitosan was the main componentreleased.Asample containing 75% chitosan reached amaximum swelling ratio and weight loss of 1500%and 55 wt%, respectively, after 12 h at pH 3. Thestudy presents a novel way of preparing pH-responsivecellulose–chitosan nanocomposites with slow-releasecharacteristics using an environmentally friendlyprocedure and without any chemical reactions.


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