Laboratory Refining of Bleached Softwood Kraft Pulp in Water and a Series of Alcohols of Different Molecular Weights and Polarities: Effects on Swelling and Fiber Length

Piotr Przybysz, Marta Anna Kucner, Marcin Dubowik, Kamila Przybysz


Typical bleached pinewood kraft pulp from a paper mill was immersed in either water or different alcohols, such as methanol, ethanol, n-propanol, and n-butanol, and then refined in a PFI mill. After refining, changes in the internal fibrillation of the fibres were evaluated by measurements of water retention values (WRV), while fibre shortening was determined by measurements of the average weighted fibre length. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of a liquid used for refining on the principal refining effects such as the internal fibrillation and fiber shortening. The highest increase in the internal fibrillation was observed for the pulp samples refined in water, which has the higher dipole moment than the alcohols. For these samples, WRV increased from 93% to 201%, while the average weighted fiber length was reduced by only 0.6 mm. When the pulp was beaten in n-butanol, which was the least polar liquid among the liquids investigated, liquid retention value increased by only 23.5%, while the average weighted fibre length was reduced by 1.37 mm. These results showed the importance of water in the beating of cellulose fibres and demonstrated that the outcomes of this process depended on the dipole moment of the fiber immersion liquid.


Papermaking pulp; Beating; Refining; Water; Dipole moment; Internal fibrillation; Fiber shortening

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