Freeze-dried cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) were dispersed in the thermoplastic polyurethane [Pellethane 2363-55D (P55D)] by a solvent casting method to fabricate CNC-reinforced nanocomposites. This study demonstrated that the addition of small amounts (1–5 wt %) of CNCs to P55D increased the thermal degradation temperature while maintaining a similar stiffness, strength, and elongation of the neat P55D. CNC additions to P55D did not alter the glass-transition temperature, but the onset decomposition temperature was shifted from 286 to 327C when 1 wt % CNCs was dispersed in the matrix. The higher onset decomposition temperature was attributed to the formation of hydrogen bonds between the hydroxyl groups on the CNC surface and urethane groups in the hard block of P55D. The ultimate tensile strength and strain to failure (εf) of the nanocomposites were minimally affected by additions up to 5 wt % CNCs, whereas the elastic modulus was increased by about 70%. The observation that εf was unchanged with the addition of up to 5 wt % CNCs suggested that the flow/sliding of the hard blocks and chains were not hindered by the presence of the CNCs during plastic deformation. The ramifications of this study was that CNC additions resulted in wider processing temperatures of P55D for various biomedical devices while maintaining a similar stiffness, strength, and elongation.
Liu, Jen-Chieh; Martin, Darren J.; Moon, Robert J.; Youngblood, Jeffrey P. 2015. Enhanced thermal stability of biomedical thermoplastic polyurethane with the addition of cellulose nanocrystals. Journal of Applied Polymer Science. 132 (22): 8 p.