Polysaccharide is one of the most abundantly available polymer materials. Humans have used polysaccharides in daily life as food, clothing, and shelter for thousands of years. Although many synthetic polymer materials have been produced since the last century, the importance of polysaccharides as polymer materials is still increasing, because polysaccharides are carbon‐neutral materials , i.e. the plants produce polysaccharides from carbon dioxide in the air.
Polysaccharides possess unique physical properties, due to the chemical structures of their monomer units with the rigid ring structure and hydroxyl groups. To improve their physical properties and also processability, polysaccharides are often chemically modified, by substituting various functional groups for the hydroxyl groups. Those polysaccharide derivatives have also various uses in polymer industry.
After Staudinger established the concept of the macromolecule in chemistry, dilute solution properties of polysaccharides and their derivatives (Figure 9.1) were extensively studied to determine molar mass as well as dimensional and hydrodynamic properties by means of viscometry, ultracentrifuge, light, X‐ray, and neutron scattering, and so on . The aim of the solution studies is to establish the relationship between the chain conformation and physical properties for polysaccharides ...