Probing Hydrogen-Bond Interactions in a Shear-Thickening Polysaccharide using Nonlinear Shear and Extensional Rheology

TitleProbing Hydrogen-Bond Interactions in a Shear-Thickening Polysaccharide using Nonlinear Shear and Extensional Rheology
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsJaishankar A., Wee M., Matia-Merino L., Goh K.KT, McKinley G.H
JournalCarbohydrate Polymers

Mamaku gum is a polysaccharide extracted from the fronds of the black tree fern found in New Zealand. The cooked pith has traditionally been used for various medicinal purposes and as a food source by the Maori people of New Zealand. It has potential applications as a thickener in the food industry and as a palliative for patients with dysphagia. Studies on the shear rheology of Mamaku gum have revealed that the gum exhibits shear thickening at a critical shear rate due to a transition from intra- to inter-molecular chain interactions upon shear-induced chain elongation. In this paper, we demonstrate that these interactions are primarily due to hydrogen bonding. We perform extensional rheology on mixtures of Mamaku gum and urea (a known disruptor of hydrogen bonds) to quantify the nature of these interactions. Capillary Breakup Extensional Rheometry (CaBER) performed on the pure Mamaku gum solutions yield plateau values of the Trouton ratio as high as ∼104, showing that the viscoelasticity of the gum in uniaxial elongation is much higher than in shear. For all Mamaku concentrations tested, the extensional viscosity decreases upon increasing urea concentration. Furthermore, the relaxation time decreases exponentially with increasing urea concentration. This exponential relationship is independent of the Mamaku concentration, and is identical to the relationships between urea concentration and characteristic timescales measured in nonlinear shear rheology. We show using the sticky reptation model for polymers with multiple sticker groups along the backbone how such a relationship is consistent with a linear decrease in the free energy for hydrogen bond dissociation. We then demonstrate that a time-concentration superposition principle can be used to collapse the viscoelastic properties of the Mamaku-gum/urea mixtures.