Hydrophobization, smoothing and barrier improvements of cellulose nanofibril films

Chemists have investigated the hydrophobization, smoothing and barrier improvement of cellulose nanofibril films by sol-gel coatings.

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Single-layer films from cellulose nanofibrils on a plastic support were coated with sol–gel coated with inorganic–organic copolymers, consisting of inorganic Si–O–Si-based networks combined with ceramic (Al–O– and Zr–O–) groups and special organic fluoroalkyl chain containing functional groups.

Sol–gel coatings decreased the surface hydrophilicity and water vapor transmission rate. The water contact angle of uncoated films was 24°, indicating high affinity between water and the cellulose nanofibrils. All sol–gel coatings tested increased the surface hydrophobicity with the contact angles ranging between 54° and 102°. The water vapor transmission rates varied between 230 and 410 g/m2/day.

Decreased vapor transmission rate

With UV curable highly organically crosslinked coating, the water vapor transmission rate was decreased by 77% as compared to uncoated film. The uncoated film had oxygen transmission rates of 0.7 and 107 cc/m2/day at 50% and 80% RH, respectively. At high humidity conditions, the films tended to swell, thus allowing permeation to increase. Sol–gel coatings significantly improved the oxygen barrier properties especially at 80% RH. The transmission rates varied between 0.4 and 0.5 cc/m2/day (50% RH) and between 51 and 86 cc/m2/day (80% RH).

The study has been published in Journal of Coatings Technology and Research volume 17 (2020).

Image source: Pixabay.

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