Rheological investigation of complex micro and nanofibrillated cellulose (MNFC) suspensions: Discussion of flow curves and gel stability

Michel Schenker*, Joachim Schoelkopf, Patrice Mangin, Patrick Gane

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


    Micro and nanofibrillated cellulose in aqueous suspension presents many challenges when considering its use, for example, in forming nanocomposites. The inclusion of filler particles either as extender or as functional additive allows the range of strength and deformation properties to be extended. These properties, however, are linked in many cases to the rheological properties of the raw material mix. Interactions under dynamic shear or under controlled stress at low amplitude reveal the potential to generate functional interactions, not only between the cellulose components themselves but also between the cellulose and polymer additives, as well as surface modified pigment fillers. Examples are given demonstrating the action of adding cellulosic polymer in the form of carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) to micro and nanofibrillated cellulose (MNFC). Rheological studies show how these combinations with CMC, added either in free form or preadsorbed onto calcium carbonate filler particles, lead to a variety of responses. Dispersability of the MNFC is increased by the use of free CMC polymer addition, and the usually expected flocculating action on added filler is seen not to occur. Alternatively, the preadsorbed CMC on the calcium carbonate pigment filler leads to an interaction between the fibrillar cellulose and the surface modified calcium carbonate pigment filler, to which incorporation of cationic polymer leads to a reduction of interaction, provided the addition level does not exceed the isoelectric point of the mix. The observations are viewed in the context of a combination of proposed physical contact dynamics in the form of disordered and ordered alignment.

    Application: The present work confirms findings of others in respect to the influence of additives like polyelectrolytes and pigment particles on MNFC suspension rheology. However, previously unreported effects are described for polyelectrolyte treated pigment particles, indicating an increased interaction with MNFC to the advantage of future products, such as fibrillar-based nanocomposites.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)405-416
    Number of pages12
    JournalTAPPI Journal
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed



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