Comparative Properties Analysis between Microcrystalline Cellulose and Cellulose Nanocrystals Extracted From Rice Straw
Chin Kwok Mern, Sam Sung Ting, Ong Hui Lin
Cellulose is one of the most commonly used raw material with intriguing properties and chemical structure. Over the recent years, widespread utilization of cellulose fiber in various fields had captivated remarkable recognition due to its safe and environmentally benign nature. However, current standards of technology highly focused on producing biomaterials with stronger and smaller footprint, where cellulose in its nanoscale form can be the answer to that call. Nanocellulose can be isolated from natural plant fibers either by chemical, mechanical and enzymatic methods. The objective of this study is to chemically extract and compare the properties between both microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) and cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) from an underutilized agricultural waste product, rice straw fiber. Their properties were ascertained by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), X–ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). Microscopic images of CNC depicted that CNC occur in nanoscale form and possess high aspect ratio. CNC was also found to occur in a higher crystallinity than MCC, which favors its application as reinforcement filler in hydrophilic polymer composites as compared to MCC. On the other hand, MCC which was found to be more thermally stable than CNC, advocates high-temperature polymer composite applications.