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Conductive Regenerated Cellulose Fibers for Multi-Functional Composites: Mechanical and Structural Investigation
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics, Material Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5550-2962
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics, Material Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5210-4341
High Throughput Multidisciplinary Research Laboratory, Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), Lot 660—Hay Moulay Rachid, 43150 Benguerir, Morocco.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics, Machine Elements.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8676-8819
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2021 (English)In: Materials, ISSN 1996-1944, E-ISSN 1996-1944, Vol. 14, no 7, article id 1746Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Regenerated cellulose fibers coated with copper via electroless plating process are investigated for their mechanical properties, molecular structure changes, and suitability for use in sensing applications. Mechanical properties are evaluated in terms of tensile stiffness and strength of fiber tows before, during and after the plating process. The effect of the treatment on the molecular structure of fibers is investigated by measuring their thermal stability with differential scanning calorimetry and obtaining Raman spectra of fibers at different stages of the treatment. Results show that the last stage in the electroless process (the plating step) is the most detrimental, causing changes in fibers’ properties. Fibers seem to lose their structural integrity and develop surface defects that result in a substantial loss in their mechanical strength. However, repeating the process more than once or elongating the residence time in the plating bath does not show a further negative effect on the strength but contributes to the increase in the copper coating thickness, and, subsequently, the final stiffness of the tows. Monitoring the changes in resistance values with applied strain on a model composite made of these conductive tows show an excellent correlation between the increase in strain and increase in electrical resistance. These results indicate that these fibers show potential when combined with conventional composites of glass or carbon fibers as structure monitoring devices without largely affecting their mechanical performance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Basel, Switzerland: MDPI, 2021. Vol. 14, no 7, article id 1746
Keywords [en]
regenerated cellulose fibers (RCFs), electroless copper plating, conductive cellulose fibers, mechanical properties, molecular structure, functional composites
National Category
Composite Science and Engineering
Research subject
Polymeric Composite Materials; Machine Elements; Cyber-Physical Systems; Experimental Physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-83555DOI: 10.3390/ma14071746ISI: 000638717200001PubMedID: 33916305Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85104353403OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-83555DiVA, id: diva2:1543079
Funder
The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT), IB2017-7389European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)Interreg Nord
Note

Validerad;2021;Nivå 2;2021-04-12 (alebob)

Available from: 2021-04-09 Created: 2021-04-09 Last updated: 2022-04-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Multifunctionality and Durability of Cellulosic Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composites
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Multifunctionality and Durability of Cellulosic Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composites
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Multifunktionalitet och beständighet hos cellulosabaserade fiberkompositer
Abstract [en]

The overall objective of this thesis is to develop and evaluate cellulose-based fiber composites with added multifunctionality for advanced applications. In the strive towards sustainable societies and industries, materials as well as production processes need to be assessed against the sustainability criteria and selected accordingly. Cellulosic fibers reinforced polymer composites are being increasingly used in applications where weight saving, and environmental friendliness is as important as structural performance. Nonetheless, these materials have their limitations regarding durability and stability of the properties, but their potential in use for advanced applications can be expanded if functionalized and considered beyond their structural performance. Such multi-functionality of composites can be achieved by the coating of fibers and/or modifying the matrix with functional reinforcement, or by both of these routes combined. Coating of fibers and modifying the matrix with nano-reinforcement are two selected approaches for imparting functionality to the cellulosic fiber composites in the current study. 

Conductive Regenerated Cellulose Fibers (RCFs) were produced by coating commercial RCFs with copper via electroless plating process. Electrical conductivity and mechanical performance were evaluated, and the coated fibers were transformed into an embedded strains sensor-like assembly that could be used as structural health monitoring system in composites structures. A noticeable degradation in the mechanical strength of fibers was realized and it was attributed to the influence of the chemicals of the final plating step of process on the chains of cellulose as well as the loss of crystalline order in the RCF. 

In order to obtain modified matrix (nanocomposites) for multifunctional wood polymer composites (WPC), the commercial masterbatches based on Graphene Nanoplatelets (GNPs) were utilized by melt extrusion process. Effect of the processing parameters in terms of change in screw configurations and the change in composition of the constituents on the structure and mechanical performance of the nanocomposites was studied.  Results showed that there is insignificant effect of the change in the screw configuration in comparison with the effect of increasing the content of the GNPs. Stronger shear forces did not result in better dispersion of the nanoparticles. Addition of the compatibilizer, on the other hand, resulted in an adverse effect on the properties compared to the formulations where it is absent. The use of GNPs with larger aspect ratio resulted in much better improvement in the mechanical performance. Addition of the nanoparticles did not only improve mechanical performance but also resulted in increased thermal conductivity and diffusivity, especially when micro-scale reinforcement was added because of synergy between wood fibers and the GNPs. This synergy was reflected also in the significant 99% improved wear resistance and the >80% reduction in the creep strains of wood and graphene reinforced composites. 

During the design and selection of materials, quasi-static properties are often used as a selection criterion. However, in reality structures in use are often loaded during lengthy periods of time which are followed by multiple steps of unloading/reloading, depending on the service conditions.  In such cases their time-dependent response becomes more crucial than instantaneous mechanical response. Typically, characterization of these properties requires a lot of time, but it may be significantly shortened if proper modeling and analysis are employed. The effect of addition of GNPs to the polymer and wood composites has been studied experimentally by short term creep tests. The materials showed highly nonlinear response even at very low loading stresses, but the addition of the nanoparticles resulted in a decrease in the nonlinearity and in the irreversible strains due to plasticity. Modelling approaches have been used to extract parameters from experimental data that could be used in predicting long term performance using Zapas model for viscoplasticity and Schapery’s model for nonlinear viscoelasticity. 

Overall, the results of the performed work contribute to enriching the research field with the potential the bio-based composites have to offer in the advanced application and how nano-scale reinforcement can interact synergistically with the micro-sized fibers to improve the overall performance of WPC and under different loading scenarios.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå University of Technology, 2022
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
National Category
Composite Science and Engineering
Research subject
Polymeric Composite Materials
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-90138 (URN)978-91-8048-057-4 (ISBN)978-91-8048-058-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2022-06-09, E632, Universitetsområdet Porsön, Luleå, 12:30 (English)
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Supervisors
Available from: 2022-04-08 Created: 2022-04-08 Last updated: 2022-05-19Bibliographically approved

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Al-Maqdasi, ZainabJoffe, RobertsEmami, NazaninChouhan, Shailesh SinghLandström, Anton

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