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Water Sorption and the Poly-Phase Structure of Cellulose Fibers

Howsmon, John A.
Textile research journal 1949 v.19 no.3 pp. 152-162
X-ray diffraction, cellulose, cellulosic fibers, crystal structure, crystallization, fabrics, hydrolysis, sorption, textile fibers
Many of the methods used to study the fine structure of cellulose are tedious and not suitable for routine use. In the present work, an equilibrium moisture regain method which can be carried out on a large scale with a high degree of accuracy has been developed. The method is illustrated by a wide variety of cellulose materials covering a wide range of moisture sorption capacity. The terms "accessibility" and "crystallinity" are discussed and possible errors arising from assumed equivalence of these terms are pointed out. A preliminary attempt to evaluate both accessibility and crystallinity of cellulose from moisture regain data has been made. This evaluation results in a proposed revision of the scale of reported crystallinities of various types of cellulose. The hydrolysis method for studying cellulose accessibility has been compared with moisture regain and x-ray diffraction methods. It is proposed that recrystallization of cellulose during hydrolysis is a determining factor in this method and, therefore, that published data obtained from hydrolytic studies should be reconsidered.