On the dissolution of cellulose in tetrabutylammonium acetate/dimethyl sulfoxide: a frustrated solvent

Alexander Idström, Luigi Gentile, Marta Gubitosi, Carina Olsson, Björn Stenqvist, Mikael Lund, Karl Erik Bergquist, Ulf Olsson, Tobias Köhnke, Erik Bialik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have found that the dissolution of cellulose in the binary mixed solvent tetrabutylammonium acetate/dimethyl sulfoxide follows a previously overlooked near-stoichiometric relationship such that one dissolved acetate ion is able to dissolve an amount of cellulose corresponding to about one glucose residue. The structure and dynamics of the resulting cellulose solutions were investigated using small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and nuclear magnetic resonance techniques as well as molecular dynamics simulation. This yielded a detailed picture of the dissolution mechanism in which acetate ions form hydrogen bonds to cellulose and causes a diffuse solvation sheath of bulky tetrabutylammonium counterions to form. In turn, this leads to a steric repulsion that helps to keep the cellulose chains apart. Structural similarities to previously investigated cellulose solutions in aqueous tetrabutylammonium hydroxide were revealed by SAXS measurement. To what extent this corresponds to similarities in dissolution mechanism is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3645-3657
Issue number9
Early online date2017 Jun 21
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sep

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Paper, Pulp and Fiber Technology


  • Cellulose dissolution
  • Ionic liquids
  • Molecular dynamics simulations
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance
  • Small angle X-ray scattering


Dive into the research topics of 'On the dissolution of cellulose in tetrabutylammonium acetate/dimethyl sulfoxide: a frustrated solvent'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this