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Beaumont, M; Konig, J; Opietnik, M; Potthast, A; Rosenau, T.
(2017): Drying of a cellulose II gel: effect of physical modification and redispersibility in water
CELLULOSE. 2017; 24(3): 1199-1209. FullText FullText_BOKU

The agglomeration of cellulosic materials upon drying, often called hornification, causes a reduction of water retention, among other undesired effects. It is one of the main issues in industrial cellulose processing, especially with regard to nanocelluloses. As a consequence, high transportation and storage costs arise since nanocelluloses need to remain in aqueous suspensions unless trade-offs in reactivity, redispersibility and surface properties are accepted. In this study, different drying strategies for TENCELA (R) gel, a nanostructured gel derived from the Lyocell process consisting of spherical particles, are compared and evaluated. First, freeze-drying with consideration of the influence of freezing temperature and the use of tert-butanol as cryo-protectant, and second, simple oven-drying at 60 A degrees C. Surprisingly, oven-dried xerogels showed higher water retention values and also better colloidal stability than the cryogels. This is in stark contrast to cellulose nanofibrils for which freeze-drying has been shown to be significantly superior to oven drying in terms of redispersibility. For the TENCELA (R) gel, oven-drying was thus selected and the influence of additives on the redispersibility of the cellulose II gel was studied by means of the common water retention value, particle size, colloidal stability, appearance of the redispersed gel and viscosity. The addition of the polysaccharides carboxymethyl cellulose or xanthan showed the most promising results with regard to redispersibility. Also sucrose and ammonium bicarbonate provided higher colloidal stabilities than that of the untreated TENCELA (R) gel. The redispersibility of the cellulose II xerogels could thus be significantly improved by simple and cost-efficient mixing with additives prior to drying.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Beaumont Marco
K├Ânig Jakob
Potthast Antje
Rosenau Thomas
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Cellulose II gel

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