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Hamed, O., Al-Kerm, R., Al-Kerm, R., Qrareya, H., Deghles, A., and Dagdage, O. (2021). "Carboxymethylated pulp as starting point to prepare hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose with enhanced gel rheological properties in an aqueous medium," BioResources 16(1), 1453-1468.


Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose in an aqueous solution upon heating tends to undergo thermal gelation, where the polymer chains form a network and precipitate from solution. This occurs at a temperature known as thermal gelation point. Polymer precipitation causes a significant drop in the shear viscosity. This could be a disadvantage in a hot environment or in applications were heat is applied. In this work, a hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose (HPMC) was formed that undergoes thermal gelation with no polymer precipitation and with enhanced rheological properties. The target HPMC was prepared from wood pulp with a low content of carboxymethyl groups. The produced hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (CMHPMC) derivative showed unique physical properties that are not achievable with typical hydroxypropyl methylcellulose. The thermal gelation temperature of an aqueous solution of CMHPMC was increased from 55 °C for commercial HPMC to 85 °C for CMHPMC. A substitution level of carboxymethylation that led to an HPMC with a thermal gelation and with no precipitation was determined to be a 0.15 of carboxyl groups per anhydroglucose repeat unit. In addition, the carboxymethylated pulp showed an enhanced reactivity towards etherification reactions.

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