Effects of Continuous Steam Explosion on the Microstructure and Properties of Eucalyptus Fibers

Pengtao Ma, Junshan Lan, Yanhong Feng, Rongliang Liu, Jinping Qu, Hezhi He


Laboratory-designed continuous steam explosion (CSE) equipment was used to prepare continuous steam-exploded eucalyptus fibers (CSEEFs). The pretreatment intensity was varied by changing treatment time, and effects of CSE on the composition, microstructure, surface composition, thermal properties, and crystallinity of CSEEFs were investigated. Composition analysis showed that CSE had a significant impact on lignin and hemicellulose, but little on cellulose. Scanning electron microscopy indicated that the middle lamella, primary wall, and outer secondary wall were progressively stripped as the CSE time increased. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy demonstrated that concentrations of extractives and lignin were higher on the surface of eucalyptus wood than CSEEFs’, and the exposed carbohydrate fraction increased with increasing CSE time. Differential scanning calorimetry showed that eucalyptus wood has one glass transition (193.5 °C), whereas two glass transitions at 56.7 and 138.5 °C were observed for CSEEF-5. X-ray diffraction results suggested that crystallinity of samples decreased with increasing CSE time. Thermogravimetric analysis showed the pyrolysis peak temperature of samples first increased and then decreased slightly as CSE time increased. These data will be useful for the optimization and application of CSE technology.


Continuous steam explosion; Eucalyptus; Microstructure; Surface composition; Property

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