Obtaining Dissolving Grade Cellulose from the Huizache (Acacia farnesiana L. Willd.) Plant

Rogelio Ramírez-Casillas, Maria del Carmen López-López, Bruno Becerra-Aguilar, Florentina Dávalos-Olivares, Kestur Gundapp Satyanarayana

Abstract


Considering that many paper mills have modified their pulp manufacturing processes to produce dissolving grade pulps from a wide variety of woods, which can be used for the production of different end products, attempts have also been made to obtain highly purified pulps using several woods and non-timber as raw materials using chemical routes. This paper is an attempt to overcome the problem of the shortage of commercial timber for pulping purposes wherein non-commercial, widely distributed huizache, a woody plant, was evaluated as a raw material for the production of dissolving grade cellulose using an alkaline sulfur anthraquinone-methanol process with a pre-hydrolysis step and optimized conditions of the process. The pulp obtained from the cooking process was subjected to a sequence of elemental chlorine free bleaching. The pulp was analyzed for its performance during the pulping process, Kappa number, ISO brightness, contents of α, β, and γ cellulose, crystallinity index, degree of polymerization, and viscosity. The obtained results revealed high levels of all these parameters for the pulp produced from Acacia farnesiana, suggesting this plant could be considered as a raw material alternative for the production of dissolving grade cellulose, which in turn can be used to produce nanocellulose crystals.

Keywords


Acacia farnesiana; Elemental chlorine free bleaching; Alkaline sulfur anthraquinone-methanol process; Soluble grade pulp; α-Cellulose

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