The present work focuses on the properties of cellulose nanocrystals, their surface modification and development of advanced materials. Diverse approaches are employed on these nanoscaled substrates aiming to modify their surface properties and extend their use in highly sophisticated applications, such as postsulfation and desulfation, polymer grafting and adsorption, selective oxidation, molecular grafting, and ‘host-guest’ inclusion.
On the basis of surface modifications, properties analysis (for different sulfate group contents) and various nanomaterials derived from cellulose nanocrystals are investigated and prepared, including gradient sulfated nanocrystals, extruded nanocomposites, biocomposite sponges, and supramolecular hydrogels. The effect of gradient degrees of sulfate groups on cellulose nanocrystals to surface chemistry, morphology and physical properties are discussed, particularly four cross-section models are compared for the determination of the surface degree of substitution on cellulose nanocrystals.
A novel strategy involving a double-polymer-layer shield and physical and/or chemical compatibilization of cellulose nanocrystals is proposed, in order to realize both improvement of thermal stability and promotion of compatibility for nanocrystals with non-polar polymeric matrices during processing by melt-extrusion. With the idea of participating as crosslinking aid for the construction of advanced materials, selectively oxidized cellulose nanocrystals (with oxidized microfibrillated cellulose as comparison) are introduced in alginate for the development of biocomposite sponges with improved mechanical stability or structural stability. Through the smart design of in situ ‘host−guest’ inclusion between chemically modified cellulose nanocrystals and cyclodextrin, two hydrophilic polysaccharides are combined in supramolecular hydrogels for use as drug delivery.
In a word, this dissertation contributes to the advances of cellulose nanocrystals in the topics of property analysis and application development.