Ionic Liquid Facilitated Generation of Functional Biopolymer Composite Materials

Tuesday, 26 May 2015: 15:20
PDR 7 (Hilton Chicago)
E. T. Fox, E. K. Brown, T. Price, M. Brusoski, D. P. Durkin, P. C. Trulove (U. S. Naval Academy), L. M. Haverhals (Bradley University), and H. C. De Long (Air Force Office of Scientific Research)
Ionic liquids (IL) have been the focus of materials research for some time due to their unique physical and chemical properties.  Of significant interest is their ability to solubilize biopolymers such as cellulose, chitin, keratin, and silk.  However, full dissolution and regeneration using IL solvents often results in biomaterials with inferior properties compared to the native material.  When natural substrates are only partially dissolved and regenerated through a process called Natural Fiber Welding (NFW), much of the native biomaterial structure can be maintained while still opening up the outermost portion of fibers so that the physical and chemical properties may be manipulated and/or modified.  Furthermore, if functional materials (e.g. magnetic, conductive, capacitive, antimicrobial) are present in the IL-welding solution, these materials may be entrained in and on the surface of the fiber substrate.  In the present work we will discuss the spatially controlled application of the NFW process and how this can be used to generated novel conductive and capacitive structures.