Mechanical Strength, Thermal Stability, and Hydrophobicity of Fiber Materials after Removal of Residual Lignin

Quanliang Wang, Shengling Xiao, Sheldon Q. Shi, Liping Cai


The behaviors of the mechanical, hydrophobic, and thermal properties of the molded fiber product (MFP) were examined after the removal of residual lignin. The fibers resulting from the chemi-thermomechanical pulping and bleaching processes were treated by extended delignification, namely by their reaction with glacial acetic acid and sodium chlorite. The changes in surface composition, chemical structure, crystallinity, microstructure, and thermal stability of the MFP were investigated by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), respectively. Results showed that the composition and structure of carbohydrates on the fiber surface were not changed significantly, the lignin in fibers was almost completely removed, the relative content of intermolecular hydrogen bonds in cellulose and the contact area between fibers was increased, and the crystallinity index increased from 79.5% to 81.4% after the extended delignification. When the content of lignin decreased from 5.78% to 0.02%, the tensile strength of the MFP increased 25.6%, but little changes were found in the bending strength. The onset thermal decomposition temperature of MFP increased from 242 °C to 250 °C and the maximum rate of degradation temperature increased from 347 °C to 350 °C.


Extended delignification; Molded fiber materials; Mechanical property; Thermal stability; Hydrophobic

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