, Volume 26, Issue 10, pp 5981–5993 | Cite as

Microfibrillated cellulose modified with urea and its reinforcement for starch-based bionanocomposites

  • Yu Tian
  • PuXin Zhu
  • Mi ZhouEmail author
  • Ronghui Guo
  • Fei Cheng
  • Yi Lin
  • Rundi Yang
Original Research


The aim of this study was to improve the dispersion of microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) in starch matrix. For this, a kind of urea-modified microfibrillated cellulose (U-MFC) was prepared with microwave-aided method from MFC and urea. The introduction of the carbamate group in MFC was confirmed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and nitrogen content analysis. A better one of the modified fillers, 300 WU, was prepared under conditions of microwave power 300 W for 5 min, with the degree of substitution 0.14. Starch/nanocellulose biomass films were prepared by solution casting method. The results relating the properties showed that as the 300 WU content was 4 wt%, the tensile strength of starch/300 WU nanocomposite film increased by 88.3% and 37.4%, compared with the starch film without filler and with starch/MFC composite film with the same content, respectively. Also, the thermal stability of the composite increased slightly, and the transparency of the starch/nanocellulose composite film increased when the filler addition amount was 0.5%. In view of more evenly dispersed U-MFC in starch matrix observed with scanning electron microscope, the mechanism behind the performance improvement was speculated to be that the chemical modification increases the compatibility between MFC and starch matrix.

Graphical abstract


Biomass films Carbamate cellulose Mcrofibrillated cellulose Starch Compatibility 



We express our sincere thanks to the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51603134) and the Graduate Program Construction Project Funding of Sichuan University (2017KCSJ036) for financial support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Textile Institute, College of Light Industry, Textile and Food EngineeringSichuan UniversityChengduChina
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina

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