Swelling behavior and rearrangements of an amorphous ultrathin cellulose film (20 rim thickness) exposed to water and subsequently dried were investigated with grazing incidence X-ray diffraction, neutron reflectivity, atomic force microscopy, and surface energy calculations obtained from contact angle measurements. The film swelled excessively in water, doubling its thickness, but shrunk back to the original thickness upon water removal. Crystallinity (or amorphousness) and morphology remained relatively unchanged after the wetting/drying cycle, but surface free energy increased considerably (ca. 15%) due to an increase in its polar component, that is, the hydrophilicity of the film, indicating that rearrangements occurred during the film's exposure to water. Furthermore, stability of the films in aqueous NaOH solution was investigated with quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring. The films were stable at 0.0001 M NaOH but already 0.001 M NaOH partially dissolved the film. The surprising susceptibility to dissolve in dilute NaOH was hypothetically attributed to the lack of hierarchical morphology in the amorphous film.
- Amorphous cellulose
- Atomic force microscopy
- Dissolution of cellulose
- Grazing incidence x-ray diffraction
- Neutron reflectivity
- Supramolecular rearrangements
- Ultrathin films