Hybridizing wood cellulose and graphene oxide toward high-performance fibers

YY Li and HL Zhu and SZ Zhu and JY Wan and Z Liu and O Vaaland and S Lacey and ZQ Fang and HQ Dai and T Li and LB Hu, NPG ASIA MATERIALS, 7, e150 (2015).

DOI: 10.1038/am.2014.111

High-performance microfibers such as carbon fibers are widely used in aircraft and wind turbine blades. Well-aligned, strong microfibers prepared by hybridizing two-dimensional (2D) graphene oxide (GO) nanosheets and one-dimensional (1D) nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) fibers are designed here for the first time and have the potential to supersede carbon fibers due to their low cost. These well-aligned hybrid microfibers are much stronger than microfibers composed of 1D NFC or 2D GO alone. Both the experimental results and molecular dynamics simulations reveal the synergistic effect between GO and NFC: the bonding between neighboring GO nanosheets is enhanced by NFC because the introduction of NFC provides the extra bonding options available between the nanosheets. In addition, 1D NFC fibers can act as 'lines' to 'weave and wrap' 2D nanosheets together. A 2D GO nanosheet can also bridge several 1D NFC fibers together, providing extra bonding sites between 1D NFC fibers over a long distance. The design rule investigated in this study can be universally applied to other structure designs where a synergistic effect is preferred.

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