Authors: Wong Pei Wen Janet, Son T Nguyen, Ng Shao Kai, Oh Jia Cheng, Jingduo Feng, Hai M. Duong
Paper products are indispensible in our daily life, however millions of tons of waste papers are generated every year. In this research, we explore the use of recycled paper waste as a source of cellulose to prepare biodegradable cellulose aerogels. This work serves as a greener solution as it replaces the need of extracting cellulose directly from wood or plant. Paper waste can also be cut down and used to generate more useful materials. In this study, hydrophobic recycled cellulose aerogels (contact angle>90oC) was produced to promote it as a green and environmentally friendly façade material. The aerogels were prepared by the gelation of cellulose from aqueous alkali lithium hydroxide/urea solution, solvent exchange with industrial ethanol followed by freeze-drying. The hydrophobic aerogels were achieved using 3 different methods and their degree of hydrophobicity was studied and compared.
Keywords: hydrophobic; cellulose; aerogels; recycled; water contact angle.