The structure of a polymeric material has a great influence in many fundamental scientific areas as well as in more applied science, since it affects the diffusion, permeability, mechanical strength, elasticity, and colloidal properties of the materials. The results in this thesis demonstrate that it is possible to fabricate solid and hollow cellulose spheres with a cellulose shell and encapsulated gas, liquid or solid particles and with a sphere size ranging from a few hundreds of nanometres to several millimetres, all with a tailored design and purpose.
The sizes of the different spheres have been controlled by three different preparation methods: large cellulose macrospheres by a solution solidification procedure, hollow micrometre-sized cellulose spheres by a liquid flow-focusing technique in microchannels, and nanometre-sized cellulose spheres by a membrane emulsification technique.
The spheres were then modified in different ways in order to functionalize them into more advanced materials. This thesis demonstrates how to control the cellulose sphere dimensions and the wall-to-void volume ratio, the elasticity and the functionality of the spheres as such, where they were prepared to be pH-responsive, surface specific and X-ray active. These modifications are interesting in several different types of final materials such as packaging materials, drug release devices or advanced in vivo diagnostic applications.
In the more fundamental science approach, surface-smooth solid cellulose spheres were prepared for characterization of the macroscopic work of adhesion when a cellulose surface is separated from another material. Using these ultra-smooth macroscopic cellulose probes, it is possible to measure the compatibility and the surface interactions between cellulose and other materials which provide an important tool for incorporating cellulose into different composite materials.
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2014. , 67 p.