Since long ago cellulosic lyotropic liquid crystals were thought as potential materials to produce fibers competitive with spidersilk or Kevlar, yet the processing of high modulus materials from cellulose-based precursors was hampered by their complex rheological behavior. In this work, by using the Rheo-NMR technique, which combines deuterium NMR with rheology, we investigate the high shear rate regimes that may be of interest to the industrial processing of these materials. Whereas the low shear rate regimes were already investigated by this technique in different works [1-4], the high shear rates range is still lacking a detailed study. This work focuses on the orientational order in the system both under shear and subsequent relaxation process arising after shear cessation through the analysis of deuterium spectra from the deuterated solvent water. At the analyzed shear rates the cholesteric order is suppressed and a flow-aligned nematic is observed which for the higher shear rates develops after certain time periodic perturbations that transiently annihilate the order in the system. During relaxation the flow aligned nematic starts losing order due to the onset of the cholesteric helices leading to a period of very low order where cholesteric helices with different orientations are forming from the aligned nematic, followed in the final stage by an increase in order at long relaxation times corresponding to the development of aligned cholesteric domains. This study sheds light on the complex rheological behavior of chiral nematic cellulose-based systems and opens ways to improve its processing.
- Liquid crystal