Polymer-Induced Modification of Cellulose Nanocrystal Assemblies in Aqueous Suspensions

Neta Cohen, Guy Ochbaum, Yael Levi-Kalisman, Ronit Bitton*, Rachel Yerushalmi-Rozen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The effect of adsorbing, nonionic polymers on the phase behavior of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) is of interest for design and preparation of functional hybrids. CNC assembly into a chiral nematic phase (N*) was investigated in the presence of highly hydrated poly(vinyl alcohol) (HPVA), low hydrated PVA (LPVA), and poly(vinylpyrrolidone) (PVP). Mapping of the nano-to-micro structure via small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM), and polarized light microscopy (POM) reveals the presence of nematic islands already at very low CNC concentrations. While the polymer-decorated CNCs preserve the structure of the native N∗ phase, solvated PVA at concentrations above the semidilute regime disrupt the CNCs' self-organization into the liquid-crystalline phase, whereas PVP does not. It is suggested that the specific structure of the polymers rather than their physical properties or depletion interactions dominates the nanostructure and phase behavior of the polymer-CNC mixtures.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)732-740
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Polymer Materials
Issue number2
StatePublished - 14 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2019 American Chemical Society.


  • CNCs
  • SAXS
  • chiral nematic
  • depletion
  • self-organization
  • tactoids


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