Cold Soda Pulping of Oil Palm Empty Fruit Bunch (OPEFB)

Wan Rosli Wan Daud, Khadijah Abdul Wahid, Kwei Nam Law

Abstract


In this study, oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFB) was treated with sodium hydroxide at room temperature and produced pulps with acceptable quality suitable for the making of commercial serviettes. The cold soda pulping of OPEFB was performed using various NaOH concentrations (1, 3, 5, 7, and 10%) for 24 hours using a liquor/OPEFB ratio of 8/1. The treated pulps were refined in 4 stages under atmospheric conditions by means of a Sprout Bauer disk refiner. The refined pulps were then screened and evaluated for their physical characteristics. The main pulp properties obtained were related to the caustic concentrations; higher caustic concentrations gave better properties. The measured pulp characteristics were: freeness 550-750 mL, sheet density 0.18-0.34 g/cm3, tear index 4.2-5.8 mN*m2/g, tensile index 3-20 N*m/g, and burst index 1.3-2.5 kPa*m2/g. In most cases the refining had little impact on pulp properties. The resulting cold soda OPEFB pulp treated with 3% caustic charge or higher showed good quality for serviette making.

Keywords


Oil palm empty fruit bunch; Cold soda pulping; Atmospheric refining; Pulp properties

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