Effect of methylimidazole on cellulose/ionic liquid solutions and regenerated material therefrom
Journal article, 2014
Cellulose, especially wood-based cellulose, is increasingly important for making everyday materials such as man-made-regenerated textile fibers, produced via dissolution and subsequent precipitation. In this paper, the effect of cosolvents in ionic liquid-facilitated cellulose dissolution is discussed. Both microcrystalline cellulose and dissolving grade hardwood pulp were studied. Three different cosolvents in combination with ionic liquid were evaluated using turbidity measurements and viscosity. The ionic liquid precursor N-methylimidazole proved to be a promising cosolvent candidate and was thus selected for further studies together with the ionic liquid 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate. Results show that dissolution rate can be increased by cosolvent addition, and the viscosity can be significantly reduced. The solutions were stable over time at room temperature and could be converted to regenerated textile fibers with good mechanical properties via airgap spinning and traditional wet spinning. Fibers spun from binary solvents exhibited significantly higher crystallinity than the fibers from neat ionic liquid.