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The focus of this study was to explore the fabrication of cellulose rubber foam (CRF) using kapok fibers (KF) as an oil absorbent material. Chemical methods such as sodium hydroxide surface treatment, hydrogen peroxide treatment, and acid hydrolysis were employed to prepare cellulose nanocrystals (CNC). The results of the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy test indicated that the chemical modification of kapok fiber resulted in the removal of lignin and hemicellulose by a disappearing peak at 17, 52, and 148 ppm, respectively. Hydrolysis process of the kapok fiber resulted in nanometer-sized cellulose, with a yield of 72% as revealed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The amount of cellulose nanocrystals from kapok fiber (KF-CNC) used in the study varied from 0 to 5 phr during the formation of the cellulose rubber foam, and it was found that the foam density increased as the number of cellulose nanocrystals from kapok fiber increased. Additionally, the percentage of collapse from the compressive strength of cellulose rubber foam decreased as the amount of cellulose nanocrystals from kapok fiber increased. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) confirmed the incorporation of cellulose nanocrystals from kapok fiber into the rubber foam (RF) as the amount of cellulose nanocrystals from kapok fiber increased. The oil absorbent of cellulose rubber foam composite with 1 phr cellulose nanocrystals from kapok fiber show highest absorption capacity was 17.8 g/g. The cellulose rubber foam composite absorbs oil before absorbing water when water and oil are combined. Moreover, the cellulose rubber foam could be reused more than 50 times.
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