Low Consistency Refining of Eucalyptus Pulp: Effects on Surface Chemistry and Interaction with FWAs

Hong-Yan Mou, Bin Li, Elina Heikkilä, Eduardo Iamazaki, Huai-yu Zhan, Pedro Fardim


The surface chemistry of eucalyptus pulp fibers prior to and after low-consistency (LC) refining was studied using a state-of-the art laboratory refining device and advanced surface analysis techniques. It was found that LC refining could generate fines and fibrillation and change the surface chemical composition of fiber surfaces. Both of these two effects can facilitate the adsorption of fluorescent whitening agents (FWAs) by the combination of increased specific surface area, electrostatic forces, and hydrophobic interactions, thus compensating for the loss of optical properties resulting from LC refining. The mechanical hydraulic force generated by the high refining energy disturbed the FWA retention. Therefore, high refining energy could improve the adsorption of FWAs when they are added after refining, but for better performance, the refining energy should be controlled and lowered. In addition, small amounts of calcium salt added after refining can also ameliorate the adsorption of FWAs.


Fluorescent whitening agents; Calcium sulfate; XPS; ToF-SIMS; Low-consistency refining

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