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Effect of moisture content on thermal and water absorption properties of microfibrillar cellulose with polymeric additives

Agarwal, Deepa; MacNaughtan, William; Ibbett, Roger; Foster, Tim J.


Deepa Agarwal

William MacNaughtan

Roger Ibbett

Tim J. Foster


The aim of this study was 1) to investigate the influence of polymeric additives such as carboxyl methyl cellulose (CMC) and locust bean gum (LBG) added before and after homogenisation on the moisture uptake of microfibrillar cellulose (MFC) in the dry and semi-wet state; and 2) to further understand the thermally induced structural transitions of low moisture MFC in the presence of the polymeric additives. A higher moisture content in the highly dense MFC network maintains the fibrillated network structure, which is lost during the drying process resulting in MFC aggregates. The addition of polymeric additives results in the regaining of the structure upon redispersion of the dry material with CMC being more effective than LBG). Results also indicated that CMC has a high level of compatibility with MFC, whereas LBG appears to have limited distribution in the MFC dense microfibrillar network and probably exists as a separate phase when added after homogenisation, however co-processing of LBG and cellulose significantly changed this behaviour. The presence of low-temperature transitions in MFC/additives/water mixtures indicates the involvement of these semi-flexible polymeric additives in the formation of liquid crystals when added to MFC in low moisture environments (2% and 20% w/w). An insight is offered into the theory of surface interactions between MFC and polymeric additives, which prevents the agglomeration of microfibrils present in the highly fibrillated suspension upon drying.


Agarwal, D., MacNaughtan, W., Ibbett, R., & Foster, T. J. (2019). Effect of moisture content on thermal and water absorption properties of microfibrillar cellulose with polymeric additives. Carbohydrate Polymers, 211, 91-99.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 1, 2019
Online Publication Date Feb 1, 2019
Publication Date May 1, 2019
Deposit Date Feb 28, 2019
Publicly Available Date Feb 28, 2019
Journal Carbohydrate Polymers
Print ISSN 0144-8617
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 211
Pages 91-99
Keywords Organic Chemistry; Materials Chemistry; Polymers and Plastics
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