Cellulose-polyethylene blends were produced and the effects of acetylated cellulose on the biodegradability of blends were investigated. Ketene obtained by pyrolysis of acetone over various heated metals which include Zn, Mg, Cu, Fe and ZnS (sphalerite) from a specially modified apparatus used to acetylated wood and industrial cellulose increased surface interaction between the hydrophobic acetylated cellulose with non-polar hydrophobic polyethylene. The results indicated that the acetylation successfully eliminated most accessible hydroxyl groups in the samples as indicated by IR and NMR Spectra data. The blends produced from acetylated cellulose showed improved dimensional stability and reactivity attributed to surface interaction between acetylated cellulose (hydrophobic) and hydrophobic polyethylene. The biodegradation test indicated that the incorporation of acetylated cellulose into polyethylene enhanced their biodegradability implying that acetylated cellulose in poly-products will be a good control measure for pollutants from poly-products. The properties of modified wood cellulose were enhanced, due to lower equilibrium moisture content caused by acetyl groups. Modified wood cellulose could find industrial applications in fiber and particle/plywood board products for various construction purposes while modified cellulose-based materials can be used in the production of polymer-based biodegradable products.
Yakubu Azeh, Gabriel A. Olatunji, Sunday Oladoye and Olubunmi Atolani, 2012. Ketene Acetylated Wood Cellulose for Industrial Applications in Wood-base and Polymer Industry. Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 5: 168-176.