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Twisting of Fibers Balancing the Gel–Sol Transition in Cellulose Aqueous Suspensions

1
Faculty of Biology, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Lenin Hills 1/12, 119192 Moscow, Russia
2
N.N. Semenov Institute of Chemical Physics, RAS. Kosygina 4, 119991 Moscow, Russia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Polymers 2019, 11(5), 873; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11050873
Received: 13 March 2019 / Revised: 8 April 2019 / Accepted: 28 April 2019 / Published: 13 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellulose and Renewable Materials)
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Abstract

Cellulose hydrogels and films are advantageous materials that are applied in modern industry and medicine. Cellulose hydrogels have a stable scaffold and never form films upon drying, while viscous cellulose hydrosols are liquids that could be used for film production. So, stabilizing either a gel or sol state in cellulose suspensions is a worthwhile challenge, significant for the practical applications. However, there is no theory describing the cellulose fibers’ behavior and processes underlying cellulose-gel-scaffold stabilizing. In this work, we provide a phenomenological mechanism explaining the transition between the stable-gel and shapeless-sol states in a cellulose suspension. We suppose that cellulose macromolecules and nanofibrils under strong dispersing treatment (such as sonication) partially untwist and dissociate, and then reassemble in a 3D scaffold having the individual elements twisted in the nodes. The latter leads to an exponential increase in friction forces between the fibers and to the corresponding fastening of the scaffold. We confirm our theory by the data on the circular dichroism of the cellulose suspensions, as well as by the direct scanning electron microscope (SEM) observations and theoretical assessments. View Full-Text
Keywords: cellulose hydrogel; cellulose films; twisting; dispersing cellulose hydrogel; cellulose films; twisting; dispersing
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Zlenko, D.V.; Nikolsky, S.N.; Vedenkin, A.S.; Politenkova, G.G.; Skoblin, A.A.; Melnikov, V.P.; Mikhaleva, M.G.; Stovbun, S.V. Twisting of Fibers Balancing the Gel–Sol Transition in Cellulose Aqueous Suspensions. Polymers 2019, 11, 873.

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