Proton T2 relaxation times of water in cellulosic fibres have been interpreted using a 3-term average model. Motional and chemical exchange contributions to relaxation show opposing temperature behaviour, enabling the use of Arrhenius analysis to determine proton exchange rates and water rotational correlation times. Both parameters vary dramatically with extent of hydration, with chemical exchange dominating relaxation at saturated water contents. Interpretations are based on a morphological model with two types of accessible cellulose, at void surfaces and internally within the cellulose phase. In native cellulose fibres, the presence of crystalline fibrils with low internal accessibility leads to rapid proton exchange at low moisture contents. Regenerated cellulose fibres typically have lower crystallinity and higher internal accessibility, which results in slower exchange as result of migration of water between void and internal environments. Exchange behaviour in regenerated fibres is highly dependent on structural organisation, which depends on the manufacturing process.
- proton NMR, relaxation, water exchange, cellulose, morphology