Phase behaviour and droplet size of oil-in-water Pickering emulsions stabilised with plant-derived nanocellulosic materials

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Marie Gestranius
  • Per Stenius
  • Eero Kontturi

  • Johan Sjöblom
  • Tekla Tammelin

Research units

  • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology


The preparation, stability and phase behaviour of oil-in-water emulsions formed by dodecane and water and stabilised by naturally amphiphilic, chemically unmodified cellulose nanofibrils (CNF), TEMPO-oxidized cellulose nanofibrils (T-CNF) and cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) were investigated. The stability towards prolonged storage, high temperature (maximum 85. °C), shear and dilution with water was evaluated. Droplet size distributions were determined from micrographs and by NMR diffusion measurements. Oil-in-water Pickering emulsions were formed at all stabiliser and O/W ratios (20-35% oil, 0.1-1.5% nanocellulose) for all three nanocellulosic materials, without the use of any additives. All emulsions creamed rapidly; the creaming layers remained stable for at least one month. The volume of creaming layers formed by CNF and T-CNF are larger and the stability towards coalescence, low shear and high temperature of CNF and T-CNF are higher than the corresponding properties of emulsions stabilised with CNC. This is probably due to the networks formed by the longer fibrils. T-CNF forms a dilute stable emulsion in equilibrium with the creaming layer. No emulsion droplets were visible in the water phases in equilibrium with the creaming layers formed by emulsions stabilised by CNC or CNF. The stability of the dilute T-CNF emulsions is probably due to the ionic charge of the nanofibrils, which is higher than that of the CNF or CNC. It seems that nanocellulosic materials primarily act as stabilisers against coalescence rather than flocculation.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-70
JournalColloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects
Early online date26 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Cellulose nanocrystal, Cellulose nanofibril, Oil-in-water emulsion, Phase behaviour, Pickering emulsion, TEMPO-oxidized cellulose nanofibril

ID: 4852915