Dilute solution viscometry was used to explore the effect of solid-state ageing on the interactions that occur between guar gum and water. The resulting data set, derived from nearly 700 independent experiments, led to a value for the Flory–Huggins interaction parameter, χ, of 0.56 ± 0.12. This value, which appeared independent of ageing, is in good agreement with the majority of published data. The effect of ageing on molar mass was also explored, using Mark–Houwink–Sakurada (MHS) theory. Absolute molar mass values were found to depend sensitively on the choice of MHS constants, but the effect of ageing was unequivocal; under all conditions, it resulted in a pronounced decrease in molar mass. In concert, these results strongly suggest that, in guar, solid-state ageing reactions are largely associated with scission of the molecular backbone. This hypothesis was then tested by infra-red and Raman spectroscopy. Although infra-red spectroscopy did reveal some subtle differences between the spectra of guar and locust bean gum (LBG), a related polysaccharides with a different galactose:mannose ratio, no equivalent effects were seen in aged guar. However, clear differences between the Raman spectra of guar and LBG were seen, demonstrating that the technique is well capable of revealing changes in galactose:mannose ratios. Examination of aged guar samples revealed no comparable effects, reinforcing the notion that, in this polysaccharide, chain scission reactions dominate such that solid-state ageing does not lead to changes in the nature of its interaction with water.
Molar Mass Intrinsic Viscosity Chain Scission Power Cable Molecular Backbone
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The authors wish to acknowledge the support of National Grid and their permission to publish this work.