Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
Fibers are classified into two groups; natural fibers and man-made fibers (MMF). There are three kinds of MMF: those made by transformation of natural polymers, those made from synthetic polymers and those made from inorganic material. Chitosan is classified as a biobased polymer and can be spun into man-made fibers. Due to its various functions, including anti-microbial, biocompatibility, biodegradability, metal-chelating, metal ions-coupling properties and general high molecular affinity, much attention has been paid recently to include chitosan into various concepts.
The overall aim of this master thesis was to investigate the possibilities to make an antibacterial paper. Because chitosan contain primary amino groups that are cationic under mildly acidic conditions, it has antibacterial properties. Lab scale spinning of chitosan filaments was attempted in order to produce chitosan staple fibers that could be mixed with pulp fibers to make paper with antibacterial properties.
Spinning methods used for a particular polymer is determined by the characteristics of the polymer. In the development of chitosan spinning at laboratory scale three different spinning methods were tested. A successful filament was produced by dry wet spinning. The filament was superior to the others in terms of dope composition and weight ratio of chitosan/acetic acid for protonation of the amino groups. Furthermore, the addition of glycerol improved the swelling of the chitosan hydrogel (or dope). Moreover, the condition of the coagulation step resulted in a good solidified filament with satisfactory elasticity and strength to be able to be taken up by a drawing cylinder.
However, too small amounts of chitosan were produced in the development of chitosan spinning at lab scale and for production of antibacterial paper of chitosan. A second option was melt spinning of polylactide (PLA) filaments containing various amounts of chitosan. In this case PLA act as a carrier of chitosan into the paper sheet. Continuous filaments were spun in a sufficient amount. The antibacterial activity of PLA/chitosan fibers on E. coli bacteria was tested both on PLA/chitosan fibers as well as on suspensions. Under nutrient free conditions weak antibacterial effects was observed both for fibers and suspensions. However, in a more nutrient rich environment no effect was observed. This suggests that the produced fibers only had a weak antibacterial activity.
To my knowledge the use of PLA in fiber form to carry chitosan into paper has not been attempted previously although different approaches to use chitosan as e.g. wound dressing is well described. In conclusion, there is a possibility to produce man made biodegradable fibers using chitosan and PLA that potentially could be added to paper. This paper might exert antibacterial properties that could have an interest to the market, e.g. for cleaning, in hospitals, and in the food industry.
2015. , 58 p.