3 Citations (SciVal)


The replacement of plastic microbeads with biodegradable alternatives is essential due to the environmental persistence of plastics and their accumulation within the human food chain.

Cellulose microbeads could be such alternative, but their production is hindered by the high viscosity of cellulose solutions. It is expected that this viscosity can be harnessed to induce filament thinning of jets of cellulose solutions to create droplets with diameters within the micrometre range, which can then be converted to solid cellulose microbeads via phase inversion.

A 3D printed rotating multi-nozzle system was used to generate jets of cellulose dissolved in solutions of [EMIm][OAc] and DMSO. The jets were subject to Rayleigh breakup to generate droplets which were captured in an ethanol anti-solvent bath, initiating phase-inversion, and resulting in regeneration of the cellulose into beads.

Control of both process (e.g. nozzle dimensions) and operational (e.g. rotational speed and pressure) parameters has allowed suppression of both satellite droplets generation and secondary droplet break-up, and tuning of the filament thinning process. This resulted in the continuous fabrication of cellulose microbeads in the size range 40–500 μm with narrow size distributions. This method can produce beads in size ranges not attainable by existing technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1003-1010
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Early online date26 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

CC is grateful for the assistance provided by Mrs. Clare Ball at the University of Bath for her assistance in using high-speed imaging. This work was funded by the University of Bath and the EPSRC-funded BIOBEADS project (EP/P027490/1). CC acknowledges funding from the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Chemical Technologies (EP/L016354/1).


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