Macromolecular interactions control structural and thermal properties of regenerated tri-component blended films

Ashley Lewis, Joshua C. Waters, John Stanton, Joseph Hess, David Salas-De La Cruz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


With a growing need for sustainable resources research has become highly interested in investigating the structure and physical properties of biomaterials composed of natural macromolecules. In this study, we assessed the structural, morphological, and thermal properties of blended, regenerated films comprised of cellulose, lignin, and hemicellulose (xylan) using the ionic liquid 1-allyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride (AMIMCl). Attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) analysis, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), X-ray scattering, and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) were used to qualitatively and quantitatively measure bonding interactions, morphology, and thermal stability of the regenerated films. The results demonstrated that the regenerated films’ structural, morphological, and thermal character changed as a function of lignin-xylan concentration. The decomposition temperature rose according to an increase in lignin content and the surface topography of the regenerated films changed from fibrous to spherical patterns. This suggests that lignin-xylan concentration alters the self-assembly of lignin and the cellulose microfibril development. X-ray scattering confirms the extent of the morphological and molecular changes. Our data reveals that the inter- and intra-molecular interactions with the cellulose crystalline domains, along with the amount of disorder in the system, control the microfibril dimensional characteristics, lignin self-assembly, and possibly the overall material s structural and thermal properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1989
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


  • Biomaterials
  • Ionic liquids
  • Lignin
  • Lignocellulose
  • Microfibril
  • Morphology
  • Self-assembly
  • X-ray scattering


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