Cellulose ether is a synthetic polymer made of natural cellulose as raw material by chemical modification. Cellulose ether is a derivative of natural cellulose, cellulose ether production and synthetic polymers are different. Its basic material is cellulose, a natural polymer compound. Due to the particularity of natural cellulose structure, cellulose itself has no ability to react with etherifying agent. But after treatment with the swelling agent, the strong hydrogen bonds between and within the molecular chains are broken. The activity of hydroxyl group is released into alkali cellulose with reactivity, and then through the reaction of etherifying agent – OH group into – OR group to get cellulose ether.
The properties of cellulose ethers depend on the type, number and distribution of substituents. The classification of cellulose ether is also based on the type of substituents, degree of etherification, solubility and related application can be classified. According to the type of substituent group on the molecular chain, it can be divided into single ether and mixed ether.
We usually use MC as a single ether, while HPMC is a mixed ether. Methyl cellulose ether MC is a natural cellulose glucose unit on the hydroxyl group is methoxide replaced by the product structure formula is [C O H7O2 (OH) 3-H (OCH3) h] X. Hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose ether HPMC is the unit on the hydroxyl part is methoxyl replaced, the other part is hydroxypropyl replaced product, the structural formula is [C6H7O2 (OH) 3-M-N (OCH3) M [OCH 2CH (OH) CH3] N] X. There are also hydroxyethyl methyl cellulose ether HEMC, which are the main varieties widely used and sold in the market.
From the solubility can be divided into ionic type and non-ionic type. Water-soluble non-ionic cellulose ether is mainly composed of alkyl ether and hydroxyl alkyl ether two series of varieties. Ionic CMC is mainly used in synthetic detergent, textile, printing, food and petroleum exploitation. Non-ionic MC, HPMC, HEMC and other mainly used in building materials, latex coatings, medicine, daily chemistry and other aspects. As thickening agent, water retention agent, stabilizer, dispersant, film forming agent.
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In the following articles, we will introduce the water retention and thickening and thixotropy of cellulose ethers in detail.