Toward Industrially Feasible Methods for Following the Process of Manufacturing Cellulose Nanofibers

Carl Moser, Mikael E. Lindström, Gunnar Henriksson

Abstract


Nanocellulose is a recently developed form of cellulose that has the potential to be used in many different industries, ranging from food to high-performance applications. This material is commercially manufactured through the homogenization of chemical pulps, but the process is energy-consuming and is still an important subject for development. Simple, robust methods are required for the quality control and optimization of industrial nanocellulose production. In this study, a number of different methods, based on different principles of monitoring the manufacture of cellulose nanofibers were evaluated and compared for five different nanocellulose qualities, both for their resolution and robustness/ease. Methods based on microscopy, light scattering, centrifugation, and viscosity were examined and all appeared useful for observing the manufacturing process during its initial stage. However, only methods based on centrifugation, turbidity, and transmittance yielded reliable data for the entire manufacturing process. Of these methods, transmittance measurement may be the best candidate for routine use because the method is simple, rapid, and only requires spectrophotometer equipment.

Keywords


Cellulose nanofibers; Microfibrillated cellulose; Nanofibrillated cellulose; Characterization; Transmittance; Turbidity

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