Superstable wet foams and lightweight solid composites from nanocellulose and hydrophobic particles

Updated: Feb 2

Roozbeh Abidnejad, Marco Beaumont, Blaise L. Tardy, Bruno D. Mattos, Orlando J. Rojas

ACS Nano 2021, 15, 12, 19712–19721

Abstract: Colloids are suitable options to replace surfactants in the formation of multiphase systems while simultaneously achieving performance benefits. We introduce synergetic combination of colloids for the interfacial stabilization of complex fluids that can be converted into lightweight materials. The strong interactions between high aspect ratio and hydrophilic fibrillated cellulose (CNF) with low aspect ratio hydrophobic particles afford superstable Pickering foams. The foams were used as a scaffolding precursor of porous, solid materials. Compared to foams stabilized by the hydrophobic particles alone, the introduction of CNF significantly increased the foamability (by up to 350%) and foam lifetime. These effects are ascribed to the fibrillar network formed by CNF. The CNF solid fraction regulated the interparticle interactions in the wet foam, delaying or preventing drainage, coarsening, and bubble coalescence. Upon drying, such a complex fluid was transformed into lightweight and strong architectures, which displayed properties that depended on the surface energy of the CNF precursor. We show that CNF combined with hydrophobic particles universally forms superstable complex fluids that can be used as a processing route to synthesize strong composites and lightweight structures.

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