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Ultrason Sonochem. 2010 Jun;17(5):845-52. doi: 10.1016/j.ultsonch.2010.03.005. Epub 2010 Mar 17.

Cavitation milling of natural cellulose to nanofibrils.

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Chemical Engineering Division, Institute of Chemical Technology, Matunga, Mumbai 400 019, India.


Cavitation holds the promise of a new and exciting approach to fabricate both top down and bottom up nanostructures. Cavitation bubbles are created when a liquid boils under less than atmospheric pressure. The collapse process occurs supersonically and generates a host of physical and chemical effects. We have made an attempt to fabricate natural cellulose material using hydrodynamic as well as acoustic cavitation. The cellulose material having initial size of 63 micron was used for the experiments. 1% (w/v) slurry of cellulose sample was circulated through the hydrodynamic cavitation device or devices (orifice) for 6h. The average velocity of the fluid through the device was 10.81m/s while average pressure applied was 7.8 kg/cm(2). Cavitation number was found to be 2.61. The average particle size obtained after treatment was 1.36 micron. This hydrodynamically processed sample was sonicated for 1h 50 min. The average size of ultrasonically processed particles was found to be 301 nm. Further, the cellulose particles were characterized with X-ray diffraction (XRD) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) to see the effect of cavitation on crystallinity (X(c)) as well as on melting temperature (T(m)). Cellulose structures consist of amorphous as well as crystalline regions. The initial raw sample was 86.56% crystalline but due to the effect of cavitation, the crystallinity reduced to 37.76%. Also the melting temperature (T(m)) was found to be reduced from 101.78 degrees C of the original to 60.13 degrees C of the processed sample. SEM images for the cellulose (processed and unprocessed) shows the status and fiber-fiber alignment and its orientation with each other. Finally cavitation has proved to be very efficient tool for reduction in size from millimeter to nano scale for highly crystalline materials.

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