On cellulose dissolution and aggregation in aqueous tetrabutylammonium hydroxide

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Aqueous tetrabutylammonium hydroxide, TBAH(aq), has been found to dissolve cellulose and to be a potential solvent for chemical processing or fiber spinning. In this paper, we have investigated the dissolution state of cellulose in 40 wt % TBAH(aq) solvent, and present an extensive study of rheology, combined with static light and small-angle X-ray scattering, to correlate cellulose aggregation with changes in the rheological parameters. Two cellulose molecular weights are compared. Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC), with a degree of polymerization of ca. 260, and a dissolving pulp with an approximately ten times higher molecular weight. Scattering data demonstrate that cellulose is molecularly dissolved at lower cellulose concentrations, while aggregates are present when the concentration exceeds a certain value. The onset of the aggregate formation is marked by a pronounced increase in the scattering intensity at low q, shear thinning behavior and violation of the empirical Cox-Merz rule. Additionally, the SAXS data suggest the presence of a solvation shell enriched in TBA+ ions, compared to the bulk solvent. The results are consistent with the recent suggestion that while native cellulose I may still dissolve, solutions are, above a particular concentration, becoming supersaturated with respect to the more stable crystal form cellulose II.


External organisations
  • University of Algarve, Portugal
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Chemistry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2873-2881
Number of pages9
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sep 12
Publication categoryResearch