On the Mechanism of Dissolution of Cellulose
Cellulose is insoluble in water and many organic solvents, but can be dissolved in a number of solvents of intermediate properties, like N-methylmorpholine N-oxide (NMMO) and ionic liquids (ILs). It can also be dissolved in water at high and low pHs, in particular if a cosolute of intermediate polarity is added. The insolubility in water is often referred to strong intermolecular hydrogen bonding between cellulose molecules. However, an examination of the interactions involved reveals another picture, which suggests that cellulose is significantly amphiphilic and that hydrophobic interactions are important for explaining the solubility pattern of cellulose.