Cellulose acetate (CA) is a natural biodegradable polymer. It forms transparent films by the casting technique. CA suffers from high degree of water permeability as well as the low thermal stability at high temperatures. To adjust the CA polymeric films to the manufacture of food packaging, its thermal and mechanical properties should be improved. The modification of CA by grafting it with N-Amino phenyl maleimide (N-APhM) led to the construction of hydrophobic branches throughout the polymeric matrix which reduced its wettability as compared to the parent CA. The branches built onto the polymeric chains had been characterized by UV/Vis, 13C-NMR and ESEM. The improvement of the thermal properties was investigated and compared to the parent CA using thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), differential thermal analysis (DTA), contact angle and mechanical testing measurements. The results revealed that the water-uptake was reduced by increasing the graft percentage. The thermal and mechanical properties were also improved.
Homogeneous graft copolymerization of methyl methacrylate (MMA) onto cellulose was carried out in N, N – dimethyl acetamide/LiCl (DMAc/LiCl) and dimethyl sulfoxide/ paraformaldehyde (DMSO/PF) solvent system taking ceric ammonium nitrate (CAN), benzoyl peroxide (BPO) and tin (II)-2-ethyl hexanoate [Sn(Oct)2] as initiators. Different grafting parameters like graft yield (GY), grafting efficiency (GE) and total conversion of monomer to polymer (TC) were evaluated at different reaction conditions of temperature, time, and variation of the amount of monomer and initiator. The viscosity average molecular weight of grafted PMMA and number of grafts per cellulose chain were also calculated. The products were characterized by FT-IR and 1H-NMR analyses and possible reaction mechanisms were deduced. Thermal degradation of the grafted products was also studied by thermo-gravimetric analysis (TG) and differential thermo-gravimetry (DTG).