Types of Cellulose: What is the Most Common Cellulose?

Cellulose is an abundant biopolymer found in plant cell walls. As an essential structural component, cellulose provides strength and rigidity to plant cells while its unique properties enable its use across a variety of industries – construction, food, pharmaceutical and textile. Kemox will walk you through each type of cellulose extensively while discussing which ones are commonly found and specific types used within construction projects.

types of cellulose

Are There Different Types of Cellulose?

Indeed, cellulose exists in various forms; each variety is distinguished based on origin, properties and application to meet industry-specific needs. Some common examples include:

Alpha Cellulose:

Alpha cellulose is the richest and purest form of cellulose, coming from the innermost layers of plant cell walls and highly polymerized. Due to its superior purity, alpha-cellulose can be found used across various industries including paper production, textiles manufacturing and specialty chemicals production.

Beta Cellulose:

B-cellulose is less frequent than its a-cellulose counterpart and typically found in plant cell walls’ middle layer. With lower polymerization and crystallinity levels than its a-cellulose counterpart, beta cellulose may be suitable for applications that require greater flexibility.

Gamma Cellulose:

Gamma cellulose is an amorphous cellulose with the lowest degree of polymerization, commonly found in plant cell walls’ outer layer and less structurally stable than other cellulose types such as a and b cellulose. Gamma cellulose can be found widely used for applications requiring high water absorption such as hydrogel production.

Microcrystalline Cellulose (MCC):

MCC is a processed form of cellulose obtained through partial depolymerization of alpha-cellulose. The resultant microcrystalline particles have superior compressibility and flowability; MCC is therefore widely used as an excipient in pharmaceutical and food industries as a bulking agent or tablet binder.

Hydroxypropyl Cellulose (HPC):

HPC is a modified cellulose ether made with the addition of hydroxypropyl groups to increase solubility, thickening and water retention properties. HPC is commonly used as a thickener and binder in pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food industries for various uses such as film forming.

Its HEC is another cellulose ether modified with hydroxyethyl, providing similar thickening and water retention properties as HPC. As such, HEC can also be found widely used in cementitious materials to ensure greater compatibility in construction projects.

Carboxymethyl Cellulose (CMC):

CMC is a derivative of cellulose created through the introduction of carboxymethyl groups, and forms water soluble solutions with viscous qualities that have widespread industrial applications as a thickener, stabilizer, or emulsifier.

What Type of Cellulose Are Most Common?

What Cellulose is Used in the Construction Industry?

Hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose, commonly referred to as HPMC, is one of the most popularly utilized building materials and additives due to its many benefits in construction materials. HPMC offers these advantages:
HPMC enhances the workability of building materials like cement and gypsum-based products by acting as a water retention agent during curing processes, thus decreasing water loss during curing times and improving adhesion and setting time. This makes handling HPMC material much simpler for construction workers.
HPMC enhances durability of mortar and stucco mixtures by helping prevent cracking while providing consistent texture across an applied surface. In addition, its better sag resistance ensures long term success of use.
HPMC adds superior anti-sagging properties to tile adhesives, helping prevent tiles from slipping or sliding before they have set.
HPMC acts as both thickener and stabiliser in water-based paints and coatings, helping maintain proper consistency while preventing pigments from settling during storage. Improved Water Retention:
HPMC improves water retention of cementitious materials, decreasing risks such as premature drying, cracking and shrinkage. In addition, HPMC helps decrease dust while also making dry mix formulations easier to handle and more user-friendly.

At the end of the article, Kemox has a tip that there are many types of cellulose, and only the cellulose that suits our product application is the best. When choosing cellulose products, we must do good background research; only suppliers who can solve customer problems in the long term and have strong production capacity can be called qualified suppliers.

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