Modifying the Contact Angle of Anisotropic Cellulose Nanocrystals: Effect on Interfacial Rheology and Structure

Merel E.H. van den Berg, Simon Kuster, Erich J. Windhab, Jozef Adamcik, Raffaele Mezzenga, Thomas Geue, Leonard M.C. Sagis, Peter Fischer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) are an emerging natural material with the ability to stabilize fluid/fluid interfaces. Native CNC is hydrophilic and does not change the interfacial tension of the stabilized emulsion or foam system. In this study, rodlike cellulose particles were isolated from hemp and chemically modified to alter their hydrophobicity, i.e., their surface activity, which was demonstrated by surface tension measurements of the particles at the air/water interface. The buildup and mechanical strength of the interfacial structure were investigated using interfacial shear and dilatational rheometry. In contrast to most particle or protein-based interfacial adsorption layers, we observe in shear flow a Maxwellian behavior instead of a glasslike frequency response. The slow and reversible buildup of the layer and its unique frequency dependence indicate a weakly aggregated system, which depends on the hydrophobicity and, thus, on the contact angle of the CNC particles at the air/water interface. Exposed to dilatational flow, the weakly aggregated particles cluster and form compact structures. The interfacial structure generated by the different flow fields is characterized by the contact angle, immersion depth, and layer roughness obtained by neutron reflectometry with contrast variation while the size and local structural arrangement of the CNC particles were investigated by AFM imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10932-10942
Issue number37
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2018

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