Aggregation of Modified Celluloses in Aqueous Solution: Transition from Methylcellulose to Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose Solution Properties Induced by a Low-Molecular-Weight Oxyethylene Additive

Rasmus Bodvik, Leif Karlson, Katarina Edwards, Jonny Eriksson, Esben Thormann, Per M. Claesson

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Temperature effects on the viscosity and aggregation behavior of aqueous solutions of three different cellulose ethersmethylcellulose (MC), hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (HPMC), and ethyl(hydroxyethyl)cellulose (EHEC)were investigated using viscosity and dynamic light scattering measurements as well as cryo-TEM. In all cases, increasing temperature reduces the solvent quality of water, which induces aggregation. It was found that the aggregation rate followed the order EHEC > HPMC > MC, suggesting that cellulose ethers containing some bulky and partially hydrophilic substituents assemble into large aggregates more readly than methylcellulose. This finding is discussed in terms of the organization of the structures formed by the different cellulose ethers. The temperature-dependent association behavior of cellulose ethers was also investigated in a novel way by adding diethyleneglycolmonobutylether (BDG) to methylcellulose aqueous solutions. When the concentration of BDG was at and above 5 wt %, methylcellulose adopted HPMC-like solution behavior. In particular, a transition temperature where the viscosity was decreasing, prior to increasing at higher temperatures, appeared, and the aggregation rate increased. This observation is rationalized by the ability of amphiphilic BDG to accumulate at nonpolar interfaces and thus also to associate with hydrophobic regions of methylcellulose. In effect, BDG is suggested to act as a physisorbed hydrophilic and bulky substituent inducing constraints on aggregation similar to those of the chemically attached hydroxypropyl groups in HPMC and oligo(ethyleneoxide) chains in EHEC.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLangmuir
Volume28
Issue number38
Pages (from-to)13562-13569
ISSN0743-7463
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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