Date of Award

12-2016

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Forest Resources

Advisor

Mehdi Tajvidi

Second Committee Member

Douglas J. Gardner

Third Committee Member

Douglas Bousfield

Abstract

Nanocellulose has widely attracted researchers’ attention because of its many interesting characteristics such as high mechanical properties and sustainability. There is a strong possibility that in the near future it could gradually replace some synthetic nanomaterials in industry. Although attempts have been made to incorporate “dried” nanocellulose into polymeric materials to produce composites, the water-based nature of nanocellulose implies that more success would be achieved if these materials could be used in their “natural” undried form. In this research, we introduce paper laminates bonded together and reinforced solely with Cellulose Nano-fibrils. Paper laminates are impregnated through a “CNF/Additive bath” and through either folding or rolling method are put layer-by-layer on top of each other. There was a lot of flexibility in terms of production method and laminate lay-up systems followed by hot-pressing to remove the extra water.

The resulted laminate systems can have various thicknesses, and are renewable and biodegradable. Mechanical properties (bending and tensile) were tested and proved to meet or exceed mechanical properties of many other composites investigated in other studies. Surfaces and cross-sections were studied qualitatively through SEM imaging. Physical properties (i.e., thickness swelling and water absorption) were measured and controlled moderately with help of additives. Behavior of the laminates in different RH levels was studied through a series of creep tests using a Dynamic Mechanical Analyzer. Lastly, mechanical properties were predicted using a classical laminated theory method. Overall, results were promising and gave better understanding of such laminated materials. This opens up new avenues for further investigating and expanding usage of nanocellulose material in different applications.

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