Interest in cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) recently has been growing significantly. Many applications have been developed for CNC and appropriate procedures to handle the CNC suspensions are critical for these applications. In this study, we explored a method evaluating CNC suspensions based on rheological property characterization. We used a rotational viscometer to characterize CNC suspensions at concentrations of 3, 4, 5, and 6 wt.%. We collected primary readings from the rotational viscometer, including spindle rotation speed and torque, to generate apparent viscosity and shear rate for CNC suspensions. We applied three different methods summarized from the literature to calculate apparent viscosity and real shear rate. We critically analyzed differences among calculation results from the three methods. Shearing thinning behaviors obeyed the power law flow model for all CNC suspensions in the shear rate tested. At different concentrations, consistency and flow behavior indices in the model differed in the measured shear rate range. With the same shear rate, higher concentration CNC suspension had a higher apparent viscosity. The apparent viscosity of the CNC suspension was associated with its weight concentration in a power law relationship. This study indicated that a rotational viscometer can be used as a quality control tool for characterizing the rheological properties of the CNC suspensions. We made recommendations for using appropriate calculation methods to obtain shear rate and apparent viscosity of CNC suspensions from the primary readings of a rotational viscometer under different situations.

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