The Effect of Water on Rheology of Native Cellulose/Ionic Liquids Solutions

Cellulose coagulates upon adding water to its solutions in ionic liquids. Although cellulose remains in solution with much higher water contents, here we report the effect of 0–3 wt % water on solution rheology of cellulose in 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride and 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, thermal gravimetric analysis, and polarized light microscopy were also used to study water absorbance to the solutions. Tiny amounts of water (0.25 wt %) can significantly affect the rheological properties of the solutions, imparting a yield stress, while dry solutions appear to be ordinary viscoelastic liquids. The yield stress grows linearly with water content and saturates at a level that increases with the square of cellulose content. Annealing the solutions containing small amounts of water at 80 °C for 20 min transforms the samples to the fully dissolved “dry” state.