Hornification in Commercial Chemical Pulps: Dependence on Water Removal and Hornification Mechanisms
Keywords:Hornification, Cellulose, Chemical Pulp, Hydrogen Bonds, Mechanism, Water Removal
Understanding cellulose hornification provides crucial information regarding drying of pulp, paper, and other cellulosic materials as well as recycling them. By measuring drainage, fiber width, and water retention value of hardwood and softwood pulps before and after sheet forming and after different drying procedures at different achieved levels of solids, the hornification was evaluated. The water retention value was also measured for the pulps when dried from acetone to observe what happens when hydrogen bonds are not available in the liquid phase. The drainage and fiber width decreased with increasing solids content; the fibers became increasingly stiff with increased water removal. Water retention measurements indicated that hornification is a stepwise process with large drops in fiber flexibility as soon as the fibers are being processed and later after a certain amount of water has been removed. In sum, the fibers must achieve a certain solids content to show hornification, and hydrogen bonds in water draw the cellulose surfaces together to create hornification. The mechanism of hornification is believed to be driven by hydrogen bonds and related to the distance between cellulose chains inside the fiber wall. Other types of bonds are probably also present and help with the irreversibility of hornification.