Self-Assembly of Pullulan Abietate on Cellulose Surfaces
Gradwell, Sheila Elizabeth
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Wood is a complex biocomposite that exhibits a high work of fracture, making it an ideal model for multiphase man-made materials. Typically, man-made composites demonstrate interfacial fracture at failure due to abrupt transitions between neighboring phases. This phenomenon does not occur in wood because gradual phase transitions exist between regions of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin and therefore adhesion between adjacent phases is increased. The formation of interphases occurs as a consequence of the self-assembly process which governs the formation of wood. If this process was understood more thoroughly, perhaps tougher man-made, biobased composites could be prepared. To study self-assembly phenomena in wood, a system composed of a model copolymer (pullulan abietate, DS=0.027) representing the lignin-carbohydrate complex (LCC) and a model surface for cellulose fibers was used. The self-assembly of the polysaccharide pullulan abietate (DS=0.027) onto a regenerated cellulose surface prepared using the Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) technique was studied via surface plasmon resonance (SPR). Rapid, spontaneous, and desorption-resistant cellulose surface modification resulted when exposed to the model LCC. Adsorption was quantified using the de Feijter equation revealing that between 9-10 anhydroglucose units (AGUs) adsorb per nm&178; of cellulose surface area when cellulose is exposed to pullulan abietate (DS=0.027) compared to the adsorption of 6.6 AGUs per nm&178; of cellulose surface area when cellulose is exposed to unsubstituted pullulan.
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