Influence of acid hydrogen peroxide treatment on refining energy and TMP properties

University dissertation from Sundsvall : FSCN - Fibre Science and Communication Network

Abstract: The potential of using acid hydrogen peroxide under Fenton conditions to lower the electrical energy consumed during the production of Black spruce (Picea mariana) thermomechanical pulp (TMP) was investigated. The chemical system, which consisted of ferrous sulphate, hydrogen peroxide and optionally an enhancer (3,4-dimethoxybenzyl alcohol, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid or oxalic acid/sodium oxalate), was evaluated as an inter-stage treatment where the primary refiner was used as a mixer. The produced TMPs were thoroughly characterised in order to explain the effect of the chemical system on fibre development and to be able to propose a mechanism for the impact on refining energy reduction. The possibility to improve the optical properties by washing, chelating and sodium dithionite or hydrogen peroxide bleaching the treated pulps was evaluated. The results obtained in a pilot plant trial show that it is possible to significantly reduce the comparative specific energy consumption by approximately 20% and 35% at a freeness value of 100 ml CSF or a tensile index of 45 Nm/g by using 1% and 2% hydrogen peroxide respectively. The energy reduction is obtained without any substantial change in the fractional composition of the pulp, though tear strength is slightly reduced, as are brightness and pulp yield. No major differences between the reference pulp and the chemically treated pulps were found with respect to fibre length, width or cross-sectional dimensions. However, the acid hydrogen peroxide-treated pulps tend to have more collapsed fibres, higher flexibility, a larger specific surface area and a lower coarseness value. The yield loss accompanying the treatment is mainly a consequence of degraded hemicelluloses. It was also found that the total charge of the chemically treated pulps is higher compared to the reference pulps, something that may have influenced the softening behaviour of the fibre wall. A washing or chelating procedure can reduce the metal ion content of the chemically treated TMPs considerably. The amount of iron can be further reduced to a level similar to that of untreated pulps by performing a reducing agent-assisted chelating stage (QY) with dithionite. The discoloration cannot, however, be completely eliminated. The brightness decrease of the treated pulps is thus not only caused by higher iron content in the pulp, but is also dependent on the type of iron compound and/or other coloured compounds connected with the acid hydrogen peroxide treatment. Oxidative bleaching with hydrogen peroxide (P) is more effective than reductive bleaching with sodium dithionite in regaining the brightness lost during the energy reductive treatment. Using a QY P sequence, a hydrogen peroxide charge of 3.8% was needed to reach an ISO brightness of 75% for the chemically treated pulps. The corresponding hydrogen peroxide charge for the untreated TMP reference was 2.5%. The radicals generated in the Fenton reaction will probably attack and weaken/soften the available outer fibre wall layers. This could facilitate fibre development and consequently lower the electrical energy demand for a certain degree of refinement.