Unilever R&D Vlaardingen, Utrecht University
DiStruc project title: Cellulose microfibrils dispersions in polymer/surfactant systems
Supervisors: Krassimir Velikov, Dirk Aarts, Joanathan Doye.
I obtained my master degree in Theoretical Physics at the University of Bordeaux (France). I specialised in soft matter and physic of fluids through an internship and a short term contract in the Laboratory of the Future which is a mixed academic and industrial laboratory of the Solvay company situated in the region of Bordeaux. This research work was supervised by Pr. Hugues Bodiguel (Uni. Bordeaux), Dr Guillaume Ovarlez (CNRS) and Dr Steven Meeker (Solvay). The project focused on studying flows of miscible and non-miscible fluids in yield stress fluids like aqueous gels. The instability between these two fluids are ruled by phenomena like surface tension. A certain number of theories exist to predict the geometry of the instability appearing between these two fluids. We were mostly focused on circular Hele-Shaw flow geometry.
My contribution to DiStruc will be to investigate systems containing cellulose microfibrils in mixtures with polymers and/or surfactants. It is expected that both molecular and colloidal interactions between particles and micelles/polymers will strongly influence the phase behaviour, dynamics, structural behaviour and stability of particle- based gels and structured liquids. These interactions will be used to control microstructure, phase transitions and flow behaviour. This knowledge will be used to understand the effect of polymers and surfactants on texture, stability and sensory attributes of products containing cellulose microfibrils, which is of great industrial importance.