Microstructure and rheology of microfibril–polymer networks†
By using an adsorbing polymer in combination with mechanical de-agglomeration, the microstructure and rheological properties of networks of microfibrils could be controlled. By the addition of sodium carboxymethyl cellulose during de-agglomeration of networks of bacterial cellulose, the microstructure could be changed from an inhomogeneous network with bundles of microfibrils and voids to a more homogeneous spread and alignment of the particles. As a result the macroscopic rheological properties were altered. Although still elastic and gel-like in nature, the elasticity and viscous behavior of the network as a function of microfibril concentration is altered. The microstructure is thus changed by changing the surface properties of the building blocks leading to a direct influence on the materials macroscopic behavior.