Crystalline cellulose in bulk and at interfaces as studied by atomistic computer simulations

by Bergenstråhle, Malin, PhD

Abstract (Summary)
Cellulose is a linear polysaccharide, serving as reinforcement in plant cell walls.Understanding its structure and properties is of importance in the developmentof nanostructured cellulose materials. The aim of this thesis is to address thisquestion by applying the computer simulation technique Molecular Dynamics(MD) onto an atomistic model of a native crystal form of cellulose.A molecular model of crystalline cellulose I? was developed and simulatedwith the GROMACS simulation software package.Temperature dependence of the crystal bulk model was investigated. A gradualtransition was observed between 350 K and 500 K in concordance with experimentalresults. The high temperature structure differed from the originalstructure in terms of crystal cell parameters, hydrogen bonding network andelastic modulus.Spin-lattice relaxation times, T1, from solid-state Nuclear Magnetic Resonancespectroscopy were compared with values calculated from the dynamics ofthe C4-H4 vector in MD simulations. Calculated T1 compared well with experimentallyobtained, suggesting well reproduced dynamics. Moreover, a differencein T1 of about a factor 2 was found for C4 atoms at surfaces parallel to differentcrystallographic planes. This supports a proposed explanation regarding anobserved doublet for C4 atoms in the NMR spectrum.Interaction energies between crystalline cellulose and water and 6? hydroxyhexanal(CL) were determined from simulations. Water was found to interactstronger with cellulose than CL. Moreover, the effect of grafting CL onto surfacecellulose chains was examined. For both water and CL interfaces, grafting ledto increased interaction. Electrostatic interactions were dominating in all cases,however grafting increased the importance of van der Waals interactions.The experimental approach to investigate polymer desorption by pulling itfrom a surface by the use of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) was enlightenedwith a modelling study. A single cellulose octamer was pulled from a cellulosecrystal into water and cyclohexane. Resulting pull-off energies proved a clearsolvent effect, 300 ? 400 [kJ/mole] in cyclohexane and 100 ? 200 [kJ/mole] inwater.In general, MD was shown to be useful when applied in combination withfeasible experimental techniques such as NMR and AFM to increase the fundamentalunderstanding of cellulose structure and properties.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Kungliga Tekniska högskolan

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:Cellulose; molecular dynamics simulation; interfaces


Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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