Microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) is a highly expanded, high surface area networked form of cellulose-based reinforcement. Due to the poor compatibility of cellulose with most common apolar thermoplastic matrices, the production of cellulose-reinforced composites in industry is currently limited to polar materials. In this study, a facile water-based chemistry, based on the reaction of MFC with tannic acid and subsequent functionalisation with an alkyl amine, is used to render the surface of the MFC fibrils hydrophobic and enhance the dispersion of the cellulose-based filler into an apolar thermoplastic matrix. The level of dispersion of the compatibilized MFC reinforced composites was evaluated using Time of Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry and multi-channel Spectral Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy. The agglomeration of cellulosic filler within the composites was reduced by functionalising the surface of the MFC fibrils with tannic acid and octadecylamine. The resulting composites exhibited an increase in modulus at a high cellulose content. Despite the dispersion of a large portion of the functionalised filler, the presence of some remaining aggregates affected the impact properties of the composites produced.
- Microfibrillated cellulose
- Mechanical properties