Ultra-lightweight cellulose foam material: preparation and properties
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Ultra-lightweight cellulose foams were prepared by regeneration of sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)/cellulose/NaOH/urea blend solution via mechanical agitation and then freeze-drying. The morphology and properties of the blend solutions and foams were investigated via optical microscope, rheometer, BET and SEM. As a result, it was found that the inclusion complex structure between cellulose macromolecules and the solvent molecules was not destroyed. Moreover, the bubbles were about 20–50 μm in the solutions and larger (>100 μm) in the foams. Not only the micropores (bubbles) but also the nanopores could be observed in the wet and dried foams. The cellulose foams possessed ultra-low density of about 30 mg/cm3 and high specific surface area. The result of X-ray diffraction and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy indicated that the cellulose foams were transited from cellulose I to cellulose II after dissolution and gelation. Bubbles inside the wet foams weakened the mechanical properties, but inversely increased the mechanical properties in the dried foams. Typical “J”-shaped curves were observed during the mechanical test, which revealed good compressive strength of dried foams. In this work, cellulose foams with ultra-lightweight and good mechanical properties were obtained, which exhibited great potentials for further development and comprehensive utilization of cellulose.
KeywordsCellulose Ultra-lightweight foam NaOH/urea aqueous solution Porous materials Multilevel pore
This work was supported by Natural Science Foundation of Fujian Province (2016H6005) and Research Foundation of Education Bureau of Fujian Province (JB13037, JAT160148).
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