Cellulose is produced chemically but naturally by plants. Uniquely, cellulose is only composed of glucose, no other types of sugar. One of the other uniqueness is this straight and branched glucose chain. There is no cellulose with only one chain. There is what is called the cellulose superstructure.
Generally, the cellulose chains are joined together to form a larger and more complicated secondary structure. Like most materials, cellulose is equipped uniquely with water retention properties. So, how is the way of cellulose to improve water retention?
What is Water Retention?
As we explained before, every substance brings strength and weakness. As we know, cellulose has several functions, the properties as well. Cellulose is chosen for its strength such as insoluble in water or organic solvents, but partially soluble in alkaline solutions. It is also relatively colorless but has a stronger binding ability. One of the main characteristics of cellulose is how it can withhold water or shortly we call it water retention.
Retention of water is closely related to the ability of any material to absorb and/or hold water in the pores. Cellulose with water retention is commonly used in cement mortar. Good cellulose has a higher level of water retention. Efforts to maintain the water absorption need to be done to make sure the product resulted better. That’s why the manufacturing process now try to be better in improving the retention of water in elements.
Packaging of Air Soluble Products
The mechanism of improved water retention in cellulose ether is also used to package air-soluble products. Products such as bath foam, toothpaste, medicine capsule, bread dough, and detergent powder need cellulose ether as packaging that has water retention so that the product gets a perfect final result. You can imagine if the bath foam breaks easily and blends. The activity of washing or bathing must be very unpleasant.
The same goes for medical capsules that are too soft or too hard. The process of swallowing medicine becomes uncomfortable so that the process of treating a disease or health disorder is finally hampered. Meanwhile, in beverage and food production, we are familiar with the term moisture retention which refers to water retention.
Packaged jelly or juice products must be driven by an improved water retention mechanism. These products should have a good selling value or at least are commensurate with their quality when they have to compete with similar products in the market.
Work of Cellulose with Water Retention and the Mechanism
All substances have unique characteristics. The characteristic of the materials is usually used for several needs. One of the abundant and free substances is cellulose. Cellulose has a linear structure, that’s why it has the crystal characteristic and is not easily soluble in water.
Its unique properties make people do some innovation in cellulose development. This makes this substance exist in some fields, never limited to one need. Besides, cellulose works in water retention, preferable for some projects.
Cellulose is widely used in fibers and plastics, while cellulose ethers are used as binders and additives for special mortars or special chemicals for building and construction as well as viscosity stabilizers in paints, food, pharmaceutical products, and others. Cellulose is also a basic material in papermaking. Cellulose fibers have high strength and durability. When wetted with water, it shows swelling when saturated and is also hygroscopic. Even in wet conditions, cellulose fibers do not lose their strength.
So, how about the mechanism to improve water retention? Here is the answer. Cellulose ether is usually applied to maintain the stability of the fluid and its capacity. In cement mortar, it can handle the liquid and improve workability. The common type of cellulose used in HPMC or Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose. In this way, we could get higher water retention. This influences the hydration of cement and reduces the absorption of water. Water retention however is also related to viscosity.
In conclusion, water retention could happen when the pores were blocked. So, there is no migration of the water. Then, there are several applications of water retention containing cellulose ether. It covers the daily need and the largest industries. For daily products, we will find this composition on toothpaste, shampoo, skincare, and others with gelling containing or form.
Pharmaceuticals also one of the industries takes cellulose ether as the material. While construction activities apply it and do an effort to improve water retention. There are some real applications such as tile adhesive, coating and painting, granite paint, and others.
Hydroxypropyl Methyl Cellulose Bond Strength
Evaporation of water in cement mortar and gypsum-based products can occur due to several factors like humidity, wind pressure, air temperature, and other factors. Hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose’s role in water retention and thickening. Cellulose ether can increase the bond strength and provide resistance to the product so that it does not sag from the expected pulp shape.
The amount of hydroxypropyl methylcellulose added to a product in different seasons can vary according to needs. In high-temperature seasons especially during hot, humid, dry areas and thin layer construction on the side that faces the sun, the addition of high-quality hydroxypropyl methylcellulose is required to improve water retention in the prepared slurry. Besides that, we need to avoid drying so fast, reducing strength, indenting, peeling off, cracking, and eliminating construction difficulties for workers.
In purchasing certain products, it is common for us to think twice and have some consideration. This includes when we decide to buy cellulose ether to add to our product or apply it in some uses. Usually, we will focus on the brand with cheap prices rather than pricy products. However, price does not always guarantee the quality of the items.
Later, the performance or physical form of the product is worth considering. The more the products look cool, beautiful, and neat, consumer interest in the products offered will be glimpsed. Quality is the factor we can ignore besides good services also play a lot. Here, we need to be wise and careful in deciding what cellulose ether we will take. Surely, we never want to be rude.