Transparent bacterial cellulose-boehmite-epoxi-siloxane nanocomposites
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Organic-inorganic composite membranes were prepared from membranes of the bio-polymer bacterial cellulose (BC) and organic-inorganic sal composed of nanoparticulate boehmite and epoxi modified siloxane. Bacterial cellulose membranes are obtained in a highly hydrated state (1% cellulose and 99% cellulose) from cultures of Gluconacetobacter xylinus and could be used in the never-dried or in the dried state. Depending on the use of dried or never-dried BC membranes two main kinds of composites were obtained. In the first one dried BC membranes coated with the hybrid sol have lead to transparent membranes displaying a hi-phase structure where the two components could be easily distinguished, with individual structures preserved. A decrease was observed for tensile strength (50.5 MPa) and Young's Modulus (2.8 GPa) when compared to pure BC membrane (112.5 MPa and 12.7 GPa). Elongation at break was observed to increase (2.5% against 1.5% observed for BC). When never-dried BC membranes were used transparent membranes were also obtained, however an improvement was observed for mechanical properties (tensile strength - 116 MPa and Young's Modulus - 13.7 GPa). A lower value was obtained for the elongation at break (1.3%). In the last case the interaction between the two-phases lead to changes in the cellulose crystallinity as shown by X rays diffraction results. Multifunctional transparent membranes displaying the cellulose structure in one side and the boehmite-siloxane structure at the opposite face could find special applications in opto-electronics or biomedical areas taking advantage of the different chemical nature of the two components. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.