Kraft Pulping and Bleaching of Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms (Water Hyacinth)

Luis Fernando Pintor-Ibarra, José de Jesús Rivera-Prado, Sarai Ramos-Vargas, Téofilo Escoto-García, Nancy Eloisa Rodríguez-Olalde, José Guadalupe Rutiaga-Quinones


Eichhornia crassipes (water hyacinth) was pulped by means of a kraft pulping process with reagent loads of 10 and 20% on a dry matter basis to determine yield, rejects, kappa number, and ash. Fiber classification, brightness, opacity, and viscosity were measured in the brown pulp. Bleaching was performed by means of an O1O2D1(PO)D2HD3 sequence. Yield, kappa number, pH, ash, brightness, opacity, and viscosity were evaluated in the bleached pulp. Finally, a microanalysis of inorganic elements was carried out in both the bleached and unbleached pulp ash. The highest kraft pulp yield was 26.4%, with a 10% reagent load at 120 °C and 30 minutes cooking. It was determined that E. crassipes cellulosic pulp contains large amounts of fines. Results of the bleaching sequence indicate low brightness (58.0 %) and low viscosity (6.43 cP). The most abundant inorganic elements in the ash of both bleached and unbleached pulp were Ca, Mg, P, and Si. These results suggest that E. crassipes biomass might complement cellulosic fibers in pulping processes of low yield, such as the wood fibers used to produce handmade paper.


Cellulosic pulp; Kappa number; Bleaching process; Inorganic substances

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