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Drying stresses in cellulose nanocrystal coatings: Impact of molecular and macromolecular additives

Konrad W. Klockars, Luiz G. Greca, Johanna Majoinen, Karl Mihhels, Orlando J. Rojas, Blaise L. Tardy

Abstract: The industrial implementation of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) in films and coatings requires thorough evaluation of the internal stresses post-consolidation, as they cause fracturing and peeling. Characterizing the impact of plasticizing additives on stress is therefore critical. Herein, we use the deflection of thin glass substrates to measure drying stresses in consolidating CNC films, and benchmark the impact of five additives (glucose, glycerol, poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG), poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and bovine serum albumin). Glycerol and PEG reduced drying stresses effectively, while PEG of increased molecular weight (from 0.2 to 10 kDa), PVA, and BSA were less effective. We analyzed the temporal aspects of the process, where stress relaxation of up to 30 % was observed 2 years after coating formation. Finally, we provide a framework to evaluate the impact of CNC morphology on residual stresses. The introduced approach is expected to fast-track the optimization and implementation of coatings based on biocolloids.


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