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Viscoelasticity and Phase Separation of Aqueous Na-Type Gellan Solution

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journal contribution
posted on 11.01.2010, 00:00 by Yoko Nitta, Rheo Takahashi, Katsuyoshi Nishinari
Viscoelastic and phase behaviors of Na-type gellan were investigated. The complex shear modulus of aqueous gellan solutions was monitored as a function of concentration, temperature, and molar mass. At relatively low concentrations, the loss shear modulus, G′′, increased steeply at a certain temperature upon cooling, which was attributed to helix formation. Above a certain concentration, a steep increase and then gradual decrease of G′′ was observed. The decrease of G′′ was significant and is considered to be due to anisotropic phase formation, judging from the macroscopic phase separation into upper isotropic and lower anisotropic phases of a gellan solution kept quiescently in a vial. Polarized light microscopy produced an image showing a nematic liquid crystalline phase. Although gel formation was not observed when gellan alone was used in the present study, the gellan formed a gel in the presence of an appropriate amount of salt.