In this study, first, a green and efficient NaOH/urea aqueous solution system was used to dissolve cellulose. Second, the resulting solution was mixed with sodium montmorillonite. Third, a cellulose/montmorillonite aerogel with a three-dimensional porous structure was prepared via a sol-gel process, solvent exchange and freeze-drying. The viscoelastic analysis results showed that the addition of montmorillonite accelerated the sol-gel process in the cellulose solution. During this process, montmorillonite adhered to the cellulose substrate surface via hydrogen bonding and then became embedded in the pore structure of the cellulose aerogel. As a result, the pore diameter of the aerogel decreased and the specific surface area of the aerogel increased. Furthermore, the addition of montmorillonite increased the compressive modulus and density of the cellulose aerogel and reduced volume shrinkage during the preparation process. In addition, the oil/water adsorption capacities of cellulose aerogels and cellulose/montmorillon aerogels were investigated.
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