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    Lignin-based fibers were produced by electrospinning aqueous dispersions of lignin, poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA), and cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs). Defect-free nanofibers with up to 90 wt % lignin and 15% CNCs were achieved. The properties of the aqueous dispersions, including viscosity, electrical conductivity, and surface tension, were examined and correlated to the electrospinnability and resulting morphology of the composite fibers. A ternary lignin-PVA-water phase diagram was constructed as a tool to rationalize the effect of mixing ratios on the dispersion electrospinability and morphology of the resulting fibers. The influence of reinforcing CNCs on the thermal properties of the multicomponent fibers was investigated by using thermal gravimetric analysis and differential scanning calorimetry. The thermal stability of the system was observed to increase owing to a strong interaction of the lignin-PVA matrix with the dispersed CNCs, mainly via hydrogen bonding, as observed in Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy experiments.

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    Ago, Mariko; Okajima, Kunihiko; Jakes, Joseph E.; Sunkyu, Park; Rojas, Orlando J. 2012. Lignin-based electrospun nanofibers reinforced with cellulose nanocrystals. Biomacromolecules. 13: 918-926.


    Lignin, fibers, electrospinning, cellulose nanocrystals, composites

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