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Keywords:

  • hexamethyldisilazane;
  • ionic liquids;
  • nanoparticles;
  • nanoprecipitation;
  • trimethylsilyl cellulose

Abstract

Silyl ethers of cellulose are promising derivatives of the biopolymer because they exhibit thermoplastic behavior at higher functionalization, may be applied as intermediate in subsequent reactions and have a high tendency to form defined supramolecular structures. Trimethylsilylation can be carried out by applying ionic liquids (ILs) such as 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate (EMIMAc) as reaction medium. Pure trimethylsilyl cellulose (TMSC) can be efficiently synthesized with 1,1,1,3,3,3-hexamethyldisilazane (HMDS) yielding products with degrees of substitution (DS) up to 2.89. During the synthesis of highly functionalized derivatives, precipitation of the TMSC occurred, which simplifies the recycling of the IL. The tendency of TMSC toward the formation of supermolecular structures was exploited for the formation of pure cellulose nanospheres by a simple dialysis process. FTIR spectroscopy confirmed the complete removal of the TMS functions during this process. Scanning electron microscopy, dynamic light scattering, atomic force microscopy, and particle size distribution analysis showed that cellulose particles with a size of 100 to 200 nm are accessible in this simple manner.