Author(s): Youssefian S, Rahbar N
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Abstract Bamboo, a fast-growing grass, has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than steel and concrete. The unique properties of bamboo come from the natural composite structure of fibers that consists mainly of cellulose microfibrils in a matrix of intertwined hemicellulose and lignin called lignin-carbohydrate complex (LCC). Here, we have used atomistic simulations to study the mechanical properties of and adhesive interactions between the materials in bamboo fibers. With this aim, we have developed molecular models of lignin, hemicellulose and LCC structures to study the elastic moduli and the adhesion energies between these materials and cellulose microfibril faces. Good agreement was observed between the simulation results and experimental data. It was also shown that the hemicellulose model has stronger mechanical properties than lignin while lignin exhibits greater tendency to adhere to cellulose microfibrils. The study suggests that the abundance of hydrogen bonds in hemicellulose chains is responsible for improving the mechanical behavior of LCC. The strong van der Waals forces between lignin molecules and cellulose microfibril is responsible for higher adhesion energy between LCC and cellulose microfibrils. We also found out that the amorphous regions of cellulose microfibrils are the weakest interfaces in bamboo fibrils. Hence, they determine the fibril strength.
This article was published in Sci Rep
and referenced in Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry