TUNISIAN DATE PALM RACHIS USED AS AN ALTERNATIVE SOURCE OF FIBRES FOR PAPERMAKING APPLICATIONS

Ramzi Khiari, Evelyne Mauret, Mohamed Naceur Belgacem, Mohamed Farouk M'henni

Abstract


Every year, significant amounts of date palm rachises are accumulated in Tunisia. The rational valorisation of this renewable resource is therefore imperative, in order to fulfil the sustainability approach. In this context, this work aims to study the potential use of date palm rachises as a raw material for papermaking and to compare it with other sources of lignocellulosic fibres, such as wood, non-wood species, and agricultural wastes. For this purpose, soda-anthraquinone pulping of date palm rachis was performed giving rise to a yield of 45% (w/w). This value is similar to that obtained by pulping non-wood materials and is higher than that corresponding to the pulping of agricultural residues. The resulting pulps were subsequently refined using a PFI mill refiner at 0, 500, 1500, and 3000 revolutions, screened through a 0.15 mm mesh size sieve and used to produce conventional handsheets. Both pulps and papers were fully characterized in terms of morphological, chemical and physical properties, according to commonly used standards. The physical properties of the prepared handsheets were very similar to those displayed by other papers made of common lignocellulosic fibres. Furthermore, the pulps exhibited a good drainability together with excellent mechanical properties of the ensuing papers. For these reasons, date palm rachises could be considered as a potential source of fibres for papermaking applications.

Keywords


Date palm rachis; soda-anthraquinone pulps; pulp refining; paper properties

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