Mechanically robust gels formed from hydrophobized cellulose nanocrystals

Rinat Nigmatullin, Robert Harniman, Valeria Gabrielli, Juan C. Muñoz-García, Yaroslav Z. Khimyak, Jesús Angulo, Stephen J. Eichhorn

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Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) that bind to each other through associative hydrophobic interactions have been synthesized by modifying sulfated CNCs (sCNCs) with hydrophobic moieties. These octyl-CNCs form gels at significantly lower concentrations than parent sCNCs, producing extremely strong hydrogels. Unlike sCNCs, these octyl-CNCs do not form ordered liquid crystalline phases indicating a random association into a robust network driven by hydrophobic interactions. Furthermore, involvement of the octyl-CNCs into multicomponent supramolecular assembly was demonstrated in combination with starch. AFM studies confirm favorable interactions between starch and octyl-CNCs, which is thought to be the source of the dramatic increase in gel strength.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19318–19322
Number of pages5
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Issue number23
Early online date23 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2018


  • adhesive force
  • cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs)
  • gels
  • rheology
  • starch

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