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The dissolution of microcrystalline cellulose in sodium hydroxide-urea aqueous solutions

Abstract : It has been reported that cellulose is better dissolved in NaOH-water when a certain amount of urea is added. In order to understand the mechanisms of this dissolution and the interactions between the components, the binary phase diagram of urea/water, the ternary urea/ NaOH/water phase diagram and the influence of the addition of microcrystalline cellulose in urea/NaOH/water solutions were studied by DSC. Urea/water solutions have a simple eutectic behaviour with a eutectic compound formed by pure urea and ice (one urea per eight water moles), melting at -12.5 °C. In the urea/NaOH/water solutions, urea and NaOH do not interact, each forming their own eutectic mixtures, (NaOH + 5H2O, 4H2O) and (urea, 8H2O), as found in their binary mixtures. When the amount of water is too low to form the two eutectic mixtures, NaOH is attracting water at the expense of urea. In the presence of microcrystalline cellulose, the interactions between cellulose and NaOH/water are exactly the same as without urea, and urea is not interacting with cellulose. A tentative explanation of the role of urea is to bind water, making cellulose-NaOH links more stable.
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Contributor : Magalie Prudon <>
Submitted on : Friday, August 13, 2010 - 2:48:16 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, September 24, 2020 - 5:22:54 PM

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Magali Egal, Tatiana Budtova, Patrick Navard. The dissolution of microcrystalline cellulose in sodium hydroxide-urea aqueous solutions. Cellulose, Springer Verlag, 2008, 15 (3), pp.Pages 361-370. ⟨10.1007/s10570-007-9185-1⟩. ⟨hal-00509593⟩



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