, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 1261–1275 | Cite as

The effect of wall depletion on the rheology of microfibrillated cellulose water suspensions by optical coherence tomography

  • Tapio Saarinen
  • Sanna Haavisto
  • Anni Sorvari
  • Juha Salmela
  • Jukka Seppälä
Original Paper


Rheology of microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) water suspensions was characterized with a rotational rheometer, augmented with optical coherence tomography (OCT). To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first time the behavior of MFC in the rheometer gap was characterized by this real-time imaging method. Two concentrations, 0.5 and 1 wt% were used, the latter also with 10−3 and 10−2 M NaCl. The aim was to follow the structure of the suspensions in a rotational rheometer during the measurements and observe wall depletion and other factors that can interfere with the rheological results. The stepped flow measurements were performed using a transparent cylindrical measuring system and combining the optical information to rheological parameters. OCT allows imaging in radial direction from the outer geometry boundary to the inner geometry boundary making both the shear rate profile and the structure of the suspension visible through the rheometer gap. Yield stress and maximum wall stress were determined by start-up of steady shear and logarithmic stress ramp methods and they both reflected in the stepped flow measurements. Above yield stress, floc size was inversely proportional to shear rate. Below the yield stress, flocs adhered to each other and the observed apparent constant shear stress was controlled by flow in the depleted boundary layer. With higher ionic strength (10−2 M NaCl), the combination of yield stress and wall depletion favored the formation of vertical, cylindrical, rotating floc structures (rollers) coupled with a thicker water layer originating at the suspension—inner cylinder boundary at low shear rates.


Microfibrillated cellulose Flocculation Rheology Optical coherence tomography Yield stress Wall depletion 



This work was funded by the EffNet program in Finnish Forest Cluster Ltd. Panu Lahtinen from VTT is acknowledged for preparing the microfibrillated cellulose. AS would like to acknowledge the Graduate School of Chemical Engineering for funding. We also gratefully acknowledge valuable co-operation network of COST ACTION FP 1005 (Fibre Suspension Flow Modelling) and ERCOFTAG SIG 43 (Fibre Suspension Flows).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tapio Saarinen
    • 1
  • Sanna Haavisto
    • 2
  • Anni Sorvari
    • 1
  • Juha Salmela
    • 2
  • Jukka Seppälä
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Chemical Technology, Polymer TechnologyAalto UniversityAaltoFinland
  2. 2.VTT Technical Research Centre of FinlandJyväskyläFinland

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