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The Exilva Blog

The leading blog on nanocellulose

Rebecca Blell

Rebecca Blell first started working with microfibrillated cellulose MFC in 2009. During her studies, she was part of the SustainComp project and her task was to understand and incorporate MFC into thin layers for improved film properties. As a research scientist at Borregaard today, she focuses on the Exilva product and its performance in personal care and home care applications. Rebecca has a PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Strasbourg, France, and experience from international locations.

Recent Posts

Coatings, adhesives/sealants

Why Microfibrillated Cellulose can enable you to formulate paints with less expensive microspheres

1. October 2019

Paint manufacturers have been formulating paints containing microspheres in many years. Formulators can use microspheres to increase the solid content of a coating while maintaining the proper application and flow characteristics. Higher solids can reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs), shrinkage and drying time. But there can be problems with settling and sedimentation, as well as floating of the microspheres. In addition, cost of certain types of microspheres can be high. In this article I will show you how the microfibrillated cellulose technology can give anti-settling and anti-sedimentation of microspheres, as well as enabling you to choose less expensive microspheres and obtain the same performance, which typically has been associated with more expensive types.

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29. May 2019

How to use Cellulose fibrils with foam forming surfactants

Surfactants are present in most consumer products. The most familiar examples are shampoos, hand wash products and cleaning products in general. Switching to sulfate free surfactants improves the environmental profile, but can be a challenge. Let me show you a way to this.

I will demonstrate that one can use cellulose fibrils to thicken and stabilize formulations with foam forming surfactants. The most important point to remember when preparing such formulations is to avoid foam formation during the incorporation step of surfactants with the cellulose fibrils.

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5. March 2019

Are you making products with markets in winter harsh areas, and depend on freeze-thaw stability?

When most people were talking about the brutal polar vortex that hit Chicago earlier this year, I am sure many were looking for ways to best protect the products they are producing, transporting, storing and using from being destroyed by freezing. In this blog post, I will briefly mention a few tips on how to make products freeze-thaw stable such that they can be used in winter harsh areas.

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21. August 2018

How to avoid unstable formulations

Many reasons can lead to unstable formulations when you first start testing a new formulation or a new ingredient. Some are due to non-optimized use of ingredients such as stabilizers and others are due to formulation processing or incompatibilities. Sounds familiar? We might have good news for you.

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14. August 2018

How to counteract formulation settling issues

Everyday life is full of formulations containing solid particles, pigments, beads or fillers. Depending on the application, the formulations may have a varying amount of solids. Common challenges with high solid content formulations are the settling of heavy particles or the floating of lighter ones. Therefore, it is important to ensure the stability of the solids suspended in a formulation. Especially those with high particle loading such as a coating formulation with matting agents, UV filters and other solids.

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24. April 2018

Stability of Cellulose fibrils — microbial degradation

Cellulose fibrils are most often supplied as readily activated water suspensions. This maintains the product’s performance and makes it easy to incorporate into a formulation. It however brings up questions about the microbial stability of the suspension over time. Is the robustness of Cellulose fibrils enough in this case?

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23. January 2018

Cellulose fibrils for immediate skin anti-wrinkle effect

There are many different solutions for reducing wrinkles and age marks on the skin. These range from long term permanent treatments of the skin to formulations that have immediate, temporary and only optical effects on the skin. In most formulations and products, a combination of a permanent solution with an immediate effect is desired.

In this blog post, I will introduce the terms “anti-aging”, “anti-wrinkle effect”, “immediate anti-wrinkle effect” and follow up with a few points explaining why cellulose fibrils can potentially give an immediate skin anti-wrinkle effect.

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19. September 2017

What is the effect of MFC on emulsion stability

Have you heard the saying “Oil and water don’t mix”? This is a proverb said of things with such different natures that they cannot be combined. It is however not totally true since oil and water can be mixed into an emulsion. In many different industries such as cosmetics, pharma, paints, coatings, household products and many more, professionals mix different oils and water to create the desired performance of a product. They overcome the hurdle of “mixing” oil and water by using emulsifiers, surfactants and stabilizers. So how can MFC contribute?

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22. August 2017

Surfactants – a tool to tailor surface chemistry of MFC?

One of the advantages of cellulosic materials (including nanocellulose and microfibrillated cellulose (MFC)) compared to synthetic materials, is their environmentally friendly profile as well as their biodegradability. This profile is impacted by the number of chemical reactions the product will undergo during the manufacturing process. It would therefore be favorable to obtain desired chemical properties via physical adsorption instead of chemical reactions.

In this blog post, you will find examples on possible effects of surface adsorbed surfactants on cellulosic materials.

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2. May 2017

Jars or spray bottles? You choose in your MFC cosmetic formulation

In many end products, and specifically in cosmetics, the first thing that attracts the consumer is the packaging format. This implies that the packaging should look good and luxurious as a sign of product performance.

There are many possible technical solutions for packaging of cosmetic products: jars, spray bottles, pumpable dispensers. Have you wondered why some come in jars and others in spray bottles?
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11. April 2017

Is MFC compatible with surfactants?

Have you run into problems with incompatibilities between the surfactant you would like to use and other ingredients in your formulation? This is a common problem since surfactants are quite versatile in charge and chemical structure as well as in functionalities. This could for example lead to undesired interactions with oppositely charged ingredients.

In this blog post I will try to explain why this would not be an issue when you are planning to introduce microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) in your surfactant based system. You will also find a few recommendations on do’s and don’ts when mixing MFC and surfactants.

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