Liquid Crystalline Behaviour of Chitosan in Formic, Acetic, Monochloroacetic Acid Solutions
The objective of this work was to prepare polysaccharide-based gels exhibiting liquid crystalline properties. Such systems may be used in some optical or in biomedical applications, where biodegradability is required. Chitosan is a derivative of chitin, widely used in a series of medical applications. Due to its rigid structure, chitosan or its derivatives may show lyotropic mesophases in certain conditions. In this work, chitosan solutions were prepared by mixing completely the polysaccharide with different concentration of formic, acetic and monochloroacetic acids at room temperature. X-ray diffraction patterns of the gels did not show the existence of a crystalline structure. Finger-prints texture observed by polarised optical microscopy was attributed to a cholesteric liquid crystalline phase that usually develops in concentrated solutions. Values of the nematic chiral pitch (P) were determined in function of acid solution concentration. The critical concentrations (C*) to form a lyotropic liquid crystalline phase in formic, acetic and monochloroacetic acids were determined, and the obtained values were confronted with the expected critical concentration based on the Flory formalism. The critical concentration values were found to be dependent upon the acid used.
Paula Maria Vilarinho
M. Prabaharan et al., "Liquid Crystalline Behaviour of Chitosan in Formic, Acetic, Monochloroacetic Acid Solutions", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 514-516, pp. 1010-1014, 2006