University of Oulu

Jonna Ojala, Juho Antti Sirviö, Henrikki Liimatainen, Nanoparticle emulsifiers based on bifunctionalized cellulose nanocrystals as marine diesel oil–water emulsion stabilizers, In Chemical Engineering Journal, Volume 288, 2016, Pages 312-320, ISSN 1385-8947, (

Nanoparticle emulsifiers based on bifunctionalized cellulose nanocrystals as marine diesel oil–water emulsion stabilizers

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Author: Ojala, Jonna1; Sirviö, Juho Antti1; Liimatainen, Henrikki1
Organizations: 1Fiber and Particle Engineering, P.O. Box 4300, FI-90014 University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2016
Publish Date: 2017-11-27


The preparation and properties of marine diesel oil-in-water (o/w) emulsion stabilized by bifunctionalized cellulose nanocrystals (But-CNCs) were investigated. Bifunctional But-CNCs containing both carboxylic and n-butylamino groups were obtained using partial, sequential periodate–chlorite oxidation and reductive amination, followed by a homogenization treatment to liberate individualized nanocrystals with amphiphilic characteristics. The fabricated But-CNC suspensions were optically transparent, and the nanocrystals that were isolated were rod-like, with lengths ranging between 35 and 120 nm and with lateral dimensions varying from 2 to 4 nm. Bifunctionalized CNCs at low concentrations (up to 0.45 wt%) were investigated as possible surface-active stabilizers in o/w emulsions. In particular, their ability to enhance the emulsification of marine diesel oil in an aqueous environment was addressed in order to evaluate their potential to be used as “green” oil spill response agents. But-CNCs at 0.1 wt% concentration in dispersion reduced the oil particle size from 50 μm to 9–16 μm, and the stability against coalescence was improved in emulsions where bifunctionalized CNCs were used compared to plain o/w emulsion.

In addition, the influence of But-CNC dosage and emulsion salinity (0–5% NaCl by weight) was investigated. The background salt concentration only had a minor effect on droplet size, and the stabilization effect was still apparent, with high electrolyte concentration. These results demonstrate the potential of bifunctionalized cellulose (with surface-active groups attached) to act as a nanoparticle emulsifier in oil–water emulsions, thus enabling its utilization in oil-destruction activities.

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Series: Chemical engineering journal
ISSN: 1385-8947
ISSN-E: 1873-3212
ISSN-L: 1385-8947
Volume: 288
Pages: 312 - 320
DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2015.10.113
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 116 Chemical sciences
216 Materials engineering
218 Environmental engineering
221 Nanotechnology
Funding: This work was financed by the Academy of Finland. The support of Ahti Pekkalan Säätiö is also appreciated. We acknowledge Neste Oil Oyj for kindly providing the marine diesel oil sample that was used in our experiments.
Dataset Reference: Supplementary data associated with this article can be found, in the online version, at
Copyright information: © 2016. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license