Cellulose, 2019, vol 26, 18, pp. 9543-9552
Understanding the behavior of fluids with inhomogeneous structural properties is critical for many industrial and biological materials. Sulfuric acid hydrolysis of cotton with ultrasonic treatment and low-speed centrifugation during purification yields spiky discotic cellulose particles. Amorphous cellulose remained in solution and forms discotic units which may be nucleated by crystalline rods. Scanning electron microscope and transmission electron microscope images confirm the discotic nature of the cellulose. High speed centrifugation could recover rod-like cellulose nanocrystals from the discotic cellulose nanoparticle solution. 3.6 wt% discotic cellulose nanoparticles formed the typical nematic phase and the liquid crystal texture became more structured with increasing concentration. Our results showed that spontaneous structuring of amorphous cellulose can lead to phase behavior that cannot be achieved using just rod-like cellulose nanocrystals.