Carboxymethyl Cellulose (CMC) was first produced in Germany and was then introduced to the United States and other countries. The product is available in two grades for industrial and food applications. CMC is a white, odorless powder that is dispersible in water and does not naturally ferment. As far as physical and chemical properties are concerned, CMC is often is used as a substitute for starch and other water-soluble, but more expensive, natural materials such as sodium alginate, Irish moss, tragacanth gum, and agar. The material has received particular attention from an economic standpoint, and much progress was made regarding the technology, quality, and application of the product. This progress allows CMC to be used in many applications, including in the food and pharmaceutical industries and to make detergents, paints, resins, construction, glue, textile, print, ceramic tiles, porcelain and china, paper, welding electrodes, carpets, drilling fluid, plywood, synthetic leather, cosmetics, and pesticides.
Properties of CMC
CMC is soluble in cold and hot water but does not react with dissolved calcium ions that prevent gel formation. The material is used in cases where viscosity control is essential, but it does more than raising the viscosity is in the final application. Thanks to its diverse set of properties, besides increasing the viscosity and strength, the CMC is used as a release agent, water-retaining agent, peptizing agent, dispersing agent, stabilizer, emulsifier, and layer forming agent in many industries.
Notable Physical Parameters of CMC
- Solution viscosity;
- Surface activity;
- Resistance against biological degradation, heating, hydrolysis, and oxidation.
Technological Reasons for Using CMC
- Achieves the required effects even at small concentrations;
- Available in various grades with adapted properties for different applications;
- Tasteless, odorless, and colorless;
- More resistant to bacterial growth than unmodified natural products;
- Retains properties under various conditions;
- High solubility even in cold water;
- Increases viscosity;
- Guarantees stable suspension;
- Serves as an emulsifier;
- Forms a protective layer;
- Improves rheological properties;
- Prevents crystal growth;
- Prevents coagulation in starch-containing products.