PROPERTIES OF CHITIN REINFORCES COMPOSITES: A REVIEW
This paper provides a review of chitin, sources, extraction, uses, applications, chitin whiskers and it preparations and the mechanical and thermal properties of chitin reinforced composites. Also reported here is the properties of CaCO3/chitin whiskers reinforced composites. Chitin can be extracted from shrimps, crabs cell walls, yeast and green algae or from Riftia tubes with a percentage varying between 20 to 40% depending on the source. Despite the denaturing of chitin, the most widely used method of extractiong chitin from seashells is the chemical method. Chitin whiskers known by different name in literature can only be prepared by using hydrochloric acid. The rod-like particles of chitin whiskers have an average lengths and widths of 200 ± 20 nm and 8 ± 1 nm respectively or more depending on the source of chitin. Chitin whiskers reinforced composites have greatly improved the mechanical and thermal properties of the composites especially at lower filler loading. The improved properties are attributed to effective stress transfer.