A thermal behavior of low-substituted hydroxyethyl cellulose and cellulose solutions in NaOH-water

Abstract : Hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC) with low molar substitution has better solubility in 8%NaOH-water solution than pure cellulose. The thermal behavior of ternary HEC/NaOH/water mixtures was investigated by DSC, and the results are compared with those of cellulose/NaOH/water solutions, aiming at providing better understanding about cellulose dissolution mechanism in NaOH-water. At low polymer concentrations and below 0°C, HEC and cellulose solutions exhibit a similar thermal behavior with ice, eutectic and/or melting and recrystallization peaks, showing that the overall interactions between NaOH, water and cellulose or HEC are identical. However, when the concentration increases above 2%, the eutectic peak of HEC solutions disappeared, leaving only the ice peak, which is different from previous results for cellulose where the disappearance of the eutectic peak was related to the maximum solubility of cellulose (around 8 wt%). This implies that the dissolution behavior of HEC in NaOH solution is changed due to possible changes of chain flexibility and/or increased attractions to water caused by the hydrophilic hydroxyethyl groups. The melting and recrystallization peaks visible only at low concentrations of HEC or cellulose in solution also support the conclusion that dissolution of cellulose and HEC at low concentrations bears features which are not yet understood.
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Wencong Wang, Faxue Li, Jianyong Yu, Tatiana Budtova, Patrick Navard. A thermal behavior of low-substituted hydroxyethyl cellulose and cellulose solutions in NaOH-water. Nordic Pulp and Paper Research Journal, 2015, Special Issue on Cellulose dissolution and regeneration: systems and interactions, 30 (01), pp.20-25. ⟨10.3183/NPPRJ-2015-30-01-p020-025⟩. ⟨hal-01140075⟩

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