Paper is widely used in packaging applications and is biodegradable and therefore perfectly safe as green packaging wrap for the environment. The hydrophilic nature of cellulose fibrils limits the water vapour and oxygen barrier properties of paper. To mitigate these limitations, paper is often associated with other materials, such as
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Paper is widely used in packaging applications and is biodegradable and therefore perfectly safe as green packaging wrap for the environment. The hydrophilic nature of cellulose fibrils limits the water vapour and oxygen barrier properties of paper. To mitigate these limitations, paper is often associated with other materials, such as plastics, wax and aluminum, for achieving their good barrier properties. However, these materials suffer from serious environmental issues, as difficult and inefficient to recycle. Recently, cellulose nanofibre (CNF) based materials has been considered as an alternative to produce eco-friendly barrier materials. Existing techniques to prepare cellulose nanofibre films/sheets/composites/ laminates on the paper substrates are commercially not feasible and expensive. Therefore, other cost effective and readily implementable methodologies are required to achieve cellulose nanofibre barrier layers. In the present report, a novel approach is developed using spray coating technique to produce CNF materials with excellent barrier properties. Among many coating techniques, the spray coating has many advantages such as the production of even coating surface on the base sheet and contactless coating with the substrate. A laboratory scale spray coating of cellulose nanofibre suspension on a paper substrate was developed. When the cellulose nanofibre suspension concentration was varied from 0.5 to 1.5 wt. %, coat weight is increased from 2.9±0.7 to 29.3±6.9 g/m2
. As a result, the air permeability of composite was decreased 0.78±0.17 to <0.0030 µm/Pa.s. Scanning electron microscopy studies of spray coated CNF laminates on the paper confirms that the surface pores in the paper substrates are filled with sprayed cellulose nanofibre and forms a continuous film on the surface of the substrate. These are the probable reasons for the reduction of air permeability of composites. A rapid preparation technique to prepare free standing cellulose nanofibre films/sheets was also developed using a bench scale spray coating system. Cellulose nanofibre suspension with concentration ranging from 1 to 2 wt% was sprayed onto a stainless steel plate, which is moving on a conveyor at a velocity of 0.32 cm/sec and then air dried. The basis weight of produced cellulose nanofibre films is varied from 52.8±7.4 to 193.1±3.4 g/m2
. Processing time taken to prepare films was approximately 1.0 min, which is much less than processing times reported in the previous literature. Thus, the significant reduction in preparation time for producing the cellulose nanofibre sheet recommends that this spray coating technique can be utilized for the development of a scalable process for the fabrication of various cellulose based nanocomposite. Therefore, the laboratory scale spray coating confirms that the spraying could provide a platform for development of films/sheets/nanocomposite and also a CNF barrier layer on the base sheet. The future work is the development of a continuous spray coating of cellulose nanofibre on the base sheet and evaluation of mechanical and barrier properties spray coated barrier layers on the base sheet.Full article