With the aim to enhance interfacial adhesion of a hydrophobic polymer matrix and cellulosic fibers and fillers, chemical surface modifications with silane coupling agents are performed. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) could be used to determine the degree of surface functionalization. However, similar thermal properties of treated and untreated cellulose hamper a precise determination of silane loading. This contribution deals with quantitative determination of silane loading combining both TGA and elemental analysis. Firstly, silane modified celluloses were studied by FT-IR, Raman, solid state NMR spectroscopy, and polarized light microscopy in order to determine functional groups and to study the impact of chemical treatment on cellulose morphology. Secondly, thermal stability and pyrolysis processes were studied by TG-MS analysis. In order to determine the exact silane loading, the mass percentages of the appropriate elements were quantified by elemental analysis and correlated with the charred residues determined by TGA yielding a linear dependency. With that correlation, it was possible to determine silane loadings for additional samples utilizing simple TGA measurements. The main advantage of that approach is that only one calibration is necessary for routine analyses of further samples and TGA-MS coupling gives additional information on thermal stability and pyrolysis routes, simultaneously.
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