This paper takes a comparative approach in characterizing two types of nano-scale cellulosic particles obtained using chemical-free pathways, either by nearcritical water treatment or by high-shear homogenization from the same microcrystalline cellulose (MCC). The nearcritical water treatment efficiently depolymerized cellulose, producing a solid precipitated fraction of low-molecular-weight material containing cellulose II, while homogenization mechanically deconstructed MCC without altering its molecular structure. Both pathways yielded nanocellulose-like materials yet with different morphologies. The mechanically produced, rod-like particles were obtained with high yield. In contrast, the hydrothermal precipitate exhibited more hydrophobic ribbon-like particles that provided a greater level of particle-particle interaction. Both materials successfully acted as stabilizers for oil-in-water Pickering emulsions; however, the hydrothermally-produced material exhibited superior performance, with stable emulsions obtained upon addition of as low as 1.0 wt.% cellulose. These two pathways are highly relevant for altering the structure and properties of MCC and for formulating new, sustainably produced nanocellulose-based materials.
- microcrystalline cellulose
- nearcritical water
- pickering emulsions
Buffiere, J., Balogh-Michels, Z., Borrega, M., Geiger, T., Zimmermann, T., & Sixta, H. (2017). The chemical-free production of nanocelluloses from microcrystalline cellulose and their use as Pickering emulsion stabilizer. Carbohydrate Polymers, 178, 48-56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.carbpol.2017.09.028