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        Last update : December 12, 2005
 
                  Fourth session - Fiber chemical modification              
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            10 - The surface modification of cellulose fibres in view of their use as reinforcing elements in composite materials            
Mohammed Naceur Belgacem (EFPG)

Site Web de l'EFPGThe interest in using cellulose fibres as reinforcing elements in composite materials based on polymeric matrices is constantly growing, mainly because of the multiple advantages associated with this renewable material. However, the preparation of cellulose-based composites is perturbed by the highly hydrophilic character of the fibres, which is associated with a low interfacial compatibility with hydrophobic polymeric matrices, as well as with a loss of mechanical properties after moisture uptake. In order to reduce the hydrophilic character of cellulose fibres and to improve the strength of their adhesion to the matrix, it is necessary to undertake a structural modification of their surface.
Several approaches have been studied, namely (i) physical treatments such as corona, plasma, laser, vacuum ultraviolet and g-radiation treatments; (ii) chemical grafting by direct condensation, including surface compatibilisation with hydrophobic moieties and co-polymerisation with the matrix. The copolymerisation approach called upon different strategies, viz.:
- The use of bi-functional molecules capable of reacting with the OH groups of the cellulose surface and leaving the second functions available for further exploitation; 
- The direct activation of the surface and the subsequent grafting-from polymerisation; and 
- The condensation of organometallic-compounds, followed by their coupling with suitable reactive molecules or macromolecules. 

The characterisation of the modified surfaces involved a variety of techniques, including elemental analysis, contact angle measurements, inverse gas chromatography, X-ray photoelectron and FTIR spectroscopy, water uptake, etc. The present survey reviews the different approaches proposed in the literature and critically assesses their respective merits and drawbacks.

References:
1. M. N. Belgacem, G. Czeremuszkin, S. Sapieha and A. Gandini, Cellulose 2, 145 (1995).
2. J. Felix, P. Gatenholm and H. P. Schreiber, J. Appl. Polymer Sci. 51, 285 (1994). 
3. V. R. Botaro, C. G. Santos, G. Arantes Junior, A. R. Da Costa, Applied Surface Sci. 183, 120 (2001). 
4. C. Goussé, H. Chanzy, M.L. Carrada and E. Fleury, Polymer 45, 1569 (2004).
5. G. Canché-Escamilla, J. I. Cauich-Cupul, E. Mendizabal, J. E. Puig, H. Vazquez-Torres and P. J. Herrera-Franco, Composites, Part A 30, 349 (1999).
6. M.N. Belgacem and A. Gandini, Composite Interface, 12, 4 (2005).

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