How Cellulose Nanofibrils Affect Bulk, Surface, and Foam Properties of Anionic Surfactant Solutions

Wenchao Xiang, Natalie Preisig, Annika Ketola, Blaise L. Tardy, Long Bai, Jukka A. Ketoja, Cosima Stubenrauch, Orlando J. Rojas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


We study the generation and decay of aqueous foams stabilized by sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) in the presence of unmodified cellulose nanofibrils (CNF). Together with the rheology of aqueous suspensions containing CNF and SDS, the interfacial/colloidal interactions are determined by quartz crystal microgravimetry with dissipation monitoring, surface plasmon resonance, and isothermal titration calorimetry. The results are used to explain the properties of the air/water interface (interfacial activity and dilatational moduli determined from oscillating air bubbles) and of the bulk (steady-state flow, oscillatory shear, and capillary thinning). These properties are finally correlated to the foamability and to the foam stability. The latter was studied as a function of time by monitoring the foam volume, the liquid fraction, and the bubble size distribution. The shear-thinning effect of CNF is found to facilitate foam formation at SDS concentrations above the critical micelle concentration (cSDS ≥ cmc). Compared with foams stabilized by pure SDS, the presence of CNF enhances the viscosity and elasticity of the continuous phase as well as of the air/water interface. The CNF-containing foams have higher liquid fractions, larger initial bubble sizes, and better stability. Due to charge screening effects caused by sodium counter ions and depletion attraction caused by SDS micelles, especially at high SDS concentrations, CNF forms aggregates in the Plateau borders and nodes of the foam, thus slowing down liquid drainage and bubble growth and improving foam stability. Overall, our findings advance the understanding of the role of CNF in foam generation and stabilization.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)4361-4369
Number of pages9
Issue number12
StatePublished - 9 Dec 2019


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