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“Liquid, Gel and Soft Glass” phase transitions and rheology of nanocrystalline cellulose suspensions as a function of concentration and salinity

Abstract

The colloidal size and rod morphology of nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) leads to suspensions with useful phase and gelation behaviours as well as complex rheologies. However, these have not been comprehensively evaluated previously. Here we report the detailed phase behaviour of sulphonated NCC aqueous suspensions as a function of concentration and salinity. Four phases – liquid, viscoelastic, soft glass and gel – are identified in terms of their distinct rheological behaviours. The liquid-solid transitions (LSTs) are determined rheologically, and these are supported by a simplified model based on the DLVO theory that indicates the importance of charge in determining phase behaviour. Rheology is also used to investigate the solid-solid transition from a repulsive glass to an attractive gel with increasing salt at high NCC concentrations. Time-dependent aging phenomenon is observed in suspensions with a composition just below the LSTs, and the implications of this on the dynamics occurring during gelation processes is discussed. This work can be directly applied to the development of structure-function relationships and the expanding utilisation of NCC suspensions, whilst also providing a basis for the study of charged colloidal rods more generally and evaluation of theoretical models.

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Publication details

The article was accepted on 03 Feb 2018 and first published on 05 Feb 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM02470C
Citation: Soft Matter, 2018, Accepted Manuscript
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    “Liquid, Gel and Soft Glass” phase transitions and rheology of nanocrystalline cellulose suspensions as a function of concentration and salinity

    Y. Xu, A. D. Atrens and J. R. Stokes, Soft Matter, 2018, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7SM02470C

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