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Title: Cooperative ordering and kinetics of cellulose nanocrystal alignment in a magnetic field

Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) are emerging nanomaterials that form chiral nematic liquid crystals above a critical concentration (C*) and additionally orient within electromagnetic fields. The control over CNC alignment is significant for materials processing and end use; to date, magnetic alignment has been demonstrated using only strong fields over extended or arbitrary time scales. This work investigates the effects of comparatively weak magnetic fields (0–1.2 T) and CNC concentration (1.65–8.25 wt %) on the kinetics and degree of CNC ordering using small-angle X-ray scattering. Interparticle spacing, correlation length, and orientation order parameters (η and S) increased with time and field strength following a sigmoidal profile. In a 1.2 T magnetic field for CNC suspensions above C*, partial alignment occurred in under 2 min followed by slower cooperative ordering to achieve nearly perfect alignment in under 200 min (S = –0.499 where S = –0.5 indicates perfect antialignment). At 0.56 T, nearly perfect alignment was also achieved, yet the ordering was 36% slower. Outside of a magnetic field, the order parameter plateaued at 52% alignment (S = –0.26) after 5 h, showcasing the drastic effects of relatively weak magnetic fields on CNC alignment. For suspensions below C*, no magnetic alignment was detected.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. McMaster Univ., Hamilton, ON (Canada)
  2. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0743-7463; R&D Project: 34646; KC0403020
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 32; Journal Issue: 30; Journal ID: ISSN 0743-7463
American Chemical Society
Research Org:
Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States). Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
77 NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY; cellulose; nanocrystal; SAXS; magnetic alignment; Center for Functional Nanomaterials; small angle x-ray scattering; chiral nematic liquid crystal; cooperative ordering
OSTI Identifier: