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Tuning of cellulose fibres' structure and surface topography: Influence of swelling and various drying procedures

: Hribernik, S.; Kleinschek, K.S.; Rihm, R.; Ganster, J.; Fink, H.-P.; Smole, M.S.


Carbohydrate polymers 148 (2016), pp.227-235
ISSN: 0144-8617
ISSN: 1879-1344
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IAP ()

Presented study deals with the pre-treatment of cellulose fibres with the aim to activate their surface and to enlarge their pore system, leading to an enhancement of fibres' affinity for subsequent functionalization processes. Swelling of fibres in aqueous solutions of sodium hydroxide opens their fibrillar structure, while freezing and freeze-drying retain this enlargement of the pore system, in contrast with conventional air or elevated temperature drying. Effect of different pre-treatment procedures on fibres' supramolecular structure, enlargement of their pore system, surface topography, zeta potential and mechanical properties was investigated. Degree of enhancement of the pore system depends on the concentration of sodium hydroxide and type of freezing; higher alkali concentrations are more effective, but at the cost of extensive deterioration of mechanical properties. Swelling of fibres in lower concentrations of NaOH, in combination with freeze drying, offers an acceptable compromise between enhancement of the fibres' pore system, changes in surface potential and tensile properties of treated fibres. Design of a suitable regime of swelling and drying of cellulose fibres results in an effective procedure for controlled tuning of their surface topography in combination with an increase of the available internal surface area and pore volume.