Plastic pollution creates major environmental damage especially when taking into account the constant increase in the use of plastic films. Therefore, increasing the use of biodegradable films and reducing non degradable plastic usage are worldwide necessities. Current biodegradable films are not transparent or strong enough for most applications. In this work we utilize nanocellulose and semiconductor nanocrystals to reinforce and functionalize a biodegradable transparent film to create a transparent, strong and optically tunable plastic film. Nanocrystalline cellulose is produced from cellulose fibers, the main component of plant cell walls. The nanocrystalline cellulose particles are 5-20 nm in diameter, a few hundreds of nanometers in length, and have superb mechanical properties. The optical properties are controlled by introducing nanocrystals within the nanocellulose layers. The hybrid nanocellulose/nanocrystals film reinforcement will enable the reduction in the amount of plastic polymer in most polymeric materials while maintaining mechanical integrity with additional optical properties.
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© The Royal Society of Chemistry 2015.