Liquid uptake in porous cellulose sheets studied with UFI-NMR: Penetration, swelling and air displacement


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Liquid penetration in porous cellulosic materials is crucial in many technological fields. The complex geometry, small pore size, and often fast timescale of liquid uptake makes the process hard to capture. Effects such as swelling, vapor transport, film flow and water transport within cellulosic material makes transport deviate from well-known relations such as Lucas -Washburn and Darcy's Law. In this work it is demonstrated how Ultra -Fast Imaging NMR can be used to simultaneously monitor the liquid distribution and swelling during capillary uptake of water with a temporal- and spatial resolution of 10 ms and 14.5-18 mu m respectively. The measurements show that in a cellulose fiber sheet, within the first 65 ms, liquid first penetrates the whole sheet before swelling takes place for another 30 s. Furthermore, it was observed that the liquid front traps 15 v% of air which is slowly replaced by water during the final stage of liquid uptake. Our method makes it possible to simultaneously quantify the concentration of all three phases (solid, liquid and air) within porous materials during processes exceeding 50 ms (5 times the temporal resolution). We hence believe that the proposed method should also be useful to study liquid penetration, or water diffusion, into other porous cellulosic materials like foams, membranes, nonwovens, textiles and films.
NMR,Cellulose,Capillary uptake,Swelling,Paper,Wetting
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