Dissolution and gelation of cellulose in TBAF/DMSO solutions

the roles of fluoride ions and water

Åsa Östlund*, Dan Lundberg, Lars Nordstierna, Krister Holmberg, Magnus Nydén

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

87 Citations (Scopus)


Solutions of cellulose in a mixture of tetrabutylammonium fluoride and dimethyl sulfoxide (TBAF/DMSO) containing small and varying amounts of water were studied by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). By measuring the composition dependences of 19F NMR and 1H NMR chemical shifts and line widths, details on the dissolution and gelation mechanisms for cellulose in TBAF/DMSO were elucidated. Our results suggest that the strongly electronegative fluoride ions act as hydrogen bond acceptors to cellulose hydroxyl groups, thus dissolving the polymer by breaking the cellulose-cellulose hydrogen bonds and by rendering the chains an effective negative charge. It was found that the fluoride ions also interact strongly with water. Small amounts of water remove the fluoride ions from the cellulose chains and allow reformation of the cellulose-cellulose hydrogen bonds, which leads to formation of highly viscous solutions or gels even at low cellulose concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2401-2407
Number of pages7
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes

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