, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 1173–1187 | Cite as

Comparative properties of cellulose nano-crystals from native and mercerized cotton fibers

  • Yiying Yue
  • Chengjun Zhou
  • Alfred D. French
  • Guan Xia
  • Guangping Han
  • Qingwen Wang
  • Qinglin Wu
Original Paper


Stable aqueous suspensions of cellulose nano-crystals (CNCs) were fabricated from both native and mercerized cotton fibers by sulfuric acid hydrolysis, followed by high-pressure homogenization. Fourier transform infrared spectrometry and wide-angle X-ray diffraction data showed that the fibers had been transformed from cellulose I (native) to cellulose II (mercerized) crystal structure, and these polymorphs were retained in the nanocrystals, giving CNC-I and CNC-II. Transmission electron microscopy showed rod-like crystal morphology for both types of crystals under the given processing conditions with CNC-II having similar width but reduced length. Freeze-dried agglomerates of CNC-II had a much higher bulk density than that of CNC-I. Thermo-gravimetric analysis showed that CNC-II had better thermal stability. The storage moduli of CNC-II suspensions at all temperatures were substantially larger than those of CNC-I suspensions at the same concentration level. CNC-II suspensions and gels were more stable in response to temperature increases. Films of CNC and Poly(ethylene oxide) were tested. Both CNC-I/PEO and CNC-II/PEO composites showed increased tensile strength and elongation at break compared to pure PEO. However, composites with CNC-II had higher strength and elongation than composites with CNC-I.


Cellulose nano-crystals Mercerization Acid-hydrolysis High-pressure homogenization Composites 



We are thankful for the financial support from the USDA CSREES (Award No: 2008-38814-04771) and from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Award No: 31070505 and 31010103905). We also thank Dr. Vince Edwards of the USDA ARS Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans, LA for providing the fabric material.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yiying Yue
    • 1
  • Chengjun Zhou
    • 1
  • Alfred D. French
    • 2
  • Guan Xia
    • 1
  • Guangping Han
    • 3
  • Qingwen Wang
    • 3
  • Qinglin Wu
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Renewable Natural ResourcesLouisiana State University AgCenterBaton RougeUSA
  2. 2.USDA ARSNew OrleansUSA
  3. 3.Material Science and Engineering CollegeNortheast Forestry UniversityHarbinChina

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