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Modification of hydrophilic cellulose fibers by monolayer growth of polystyrene chains using ATRP

Modification of hydrophilic cellulose fibers by monolayer growth of polystyrene chains using ATRP

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The chemical modification of biopolymer-based materials by grafting synthetic polymers has received considerable attention in recent years, inasmuch as there are wide varieties of monomers available. Nowadays, the most abundant biomacromolecule, cellulose, has attracted considerable attention due to its biodegradable, biocompatible, and renewable characteristics. In this study, the surface of hydrophilic cellulose microfibers was successfully modified by polymerization of hydrophobic polystyrene using atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) technique in dispersion medium. In this medium, only the outer surface of the macroinitiator is available for the polymerization, so the grown polymer chains are formed as monolayer on the surface of the macroinitiator. This type of modification not only increases the mechanical properties of the cellulose backbone, but also turns the hydrophilic characteristics of cellulose into hydrophobic state. For this purpose, in the first part of this research, chloroacetylated cellulose was synthesized as macroinitiator. In the second part, the acyl content of the macroinitiator and the degree of substitution, which show the efficiency of the esterification reaction, have been determined by basic hydrolysis of the macroinitiator with KOH and back-titration of the excess alkali with HCl. Finally, the chloroacetylated cellulose was modified by graft copolymerization of styrene using ATRP method. The polystyrene chain growth is confirmed by the atomic force microscopy images.


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