Dehydration of bacterial cellulose and the water content effects on its viscoelastic and electrochemical properties

Bacterial cellulose (BC) has interesting properties including high crystallinity, tensile strength, degree of polymerisation, water holding capacity (98%) and an overall attractive 3D nanofibrillar structure. The mechanical and electrochemical properties can be tailored upon incomplete BC dehydration. Under different water contents (100, 80 and 50%), the rheology and electrochemistry of BC were evaluated, showing a progressive stiffening and increasing resistance with lower capacitance after partial dehydration. BC water loss was mathematically modelled for predicting its water content and for understanding the structural changes of post-dried BC. The dehydration of the samples was determined via water evaporation at 37 °C for different diameters and thicknesses. The gradual water evaporation observed was welldescribed by the model proposed (R2 up to 0.99). The mathematical model for BC water loss may allow the optimisation of these properties for an intended application and may be extendable for other conditions and purposes.