High Performance Eco-friendly Nanofillers from Palm Fibers

Balasubramanian, Navdeep Manhas, Sunil Nimje
Journal of Material Science and Mechanical Engineering (JMSME) Print   unpublished
The surface functionalized cellulose nanofibrils have found commodious applications in various fields such as bio-nanocomposite, tissue engineering scaffolds and nanodevices owing to their excellent mechanical properties, sustainability and renewable nature. Therefore, the present study aspires towards fabrication of competent reinforcing nanofibrils from palm fibers, which have a greater surface area with respect to volume that leads to a superior interaction with matrix system of composite We
more » ... tem of composite We have demonstrated an economically viable model for isolation of nanofibrils from palm fibres employing an inexpensive chemical pre-treatment via bleaching powder. The design involves chemi-mechanical techniques which comprises of alkali treatment, bleaching and ultrasonication and are favorable for the cellulose purification and nano fibrillation through delignification and defibrillation. The alkaline treatment of leaves of palm tree with caustic soda partially removed lignin, hemicellulose, wax and oil shielding the peripheral surface of the fibre cell wall and depolymerised the native cellulose. Mercerized fibre was then subjected to 3%, 5%, 7% and 10% of bleaching solution for eradication of the remnant lignin. The optimum concentration of bleaching powder was ascertained at 5% by highest intensity characteristic peak at 1010cm-1 in FTIR spectra which corresponds to pyranose ring skeletal vibration of cellulose. The structural and morphological characteristics of raw fibre, chemically treated fibre and isolated nanofibres were investigated through FE-SEM, which revealed substantial reduction in diameter of palm fibre to 30nm by a greener method of ultrasonication for 60 min. These fibres find extensive applications as nanofillers in structural composites for automobiles and medical fields.