Tuning of cellulose fibres' structure and surface topography: Influence of swelling and various drying procedures

Silvo Hribernik*, Karin Stana Kleinschek, Rainer Rihm, Johannes Ganster, Hans Peter Fink, Majda Sfiligoj Smole

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Presented study deals with the pre-treatment of cellulose fibres with the aim to activate their surface and to enlarge their pore system, leading to an enhancement of fibres' affinity for subsequent functionalization processes. Swelling of fibres in aqueous solutions of sodium hydroxide opens their fibrillar structure, while freezing and freeze-drying retain this enlargement of the pore system, in contrast with conventional air or elevated temperature drying. Effect of different pre-treatment procedures on fibres' supramolecular structure, enlargement of their pore system, surface topography, zeta potential and mechanical properties was investigated. Degree of enhancement of the pore system depends on the concentration of sodium hydroxide and type of freezing; higher alkali concentrations are more effective, but at the cost of extensive deterioration of mechanical properties. Swelling of fibres in lower concentrations of NaOH, in combination with freeze drying, offers an acceptable compromise between enhancement of the fibres' pore system, changes in surface potential and tensile properties of treated fibres. Design of a suitable regime of swelling and drying of cellulose fibres results in an effective procedure for controlled tuning of their surface topography in combination with an increase of the available internal surface area and pore volume.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-235
Number of pages9
JournalCarbohydrate Polymers
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cellulose fibres
  • Crystallinity
  • Mechanical properties
  • Porosity
  • Surface topography
  • Zeta potential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry

Cite this