Microfibrillated cellulose : Energy-efficient preparation techniques and key properties
Abstract: This work describes three alternative processes for producing microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) in which pulp fibres are first pre-treated and then homogenized using a high-pressure homogenizer. In one process, fibre cell wall delamination was facilitated with a combined enzymatic and mechanical pre-treatment. In the two other processes, cell wall delamination was facilitated by pre-treatments that introduced anionically charged groups into the fibre wall, by means of either a carboxymethylation reaction or irreversibly attaching carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) onto the fibres. All three processes are industrially feasible and enable production with low energy consumption. Using these methods, MFC can be produced with an energy consumption of 500–2300 kWh/tonne, which corresponds to a 91–98% reduction in energy consumption from that presented in earlier studies. These materials have been characterized in various ways and it has been demonstrated that the produced MFCs are approximately 5–30 nm wide and up to several microns long.
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