Mechanical Pulp Based Nano-ligno-cellulose Production, Characterisation and their Effect on Paper Properties

University dissertation from Sundsvall : Mid Sweden University

Abstract: Almost all research on biorefinery concepts are based on chemical pulping processes and ways of utilising lignin, hemicelluloses and extractives as well as a part of the remaining cellulose for production of nano materials in order to create more valuable products than today. Within the Forest as a Resource (FORE) research program at FSCN we are utilising the whole chain of unit processes from forestry to final products as paper and board, where the pulping process research focus on high yield process as TMP and CTMP. As these process solutions are preserving or only slightly changing the properties of the original wood polymers and extractives, the idea is to find high value adding products designed by nature.From an economic perspective, the production of nanocellulose from a chemical pulp is quite expensive as the pulp has to be either enzymatically (e.g. mono-component endoglucanase) pre-treated or chemically oxidised using the TEMPO (2,2,6,6 - tetramethyl-piperidine-1-oxil) - mediated oxidation method in order to make it possible to disrupt the fibres by means of homogenisation.In high yield pulping processes such as in TMP and CTMP, the idea with this study was to investigate the possibility to use fractions of low quality materials from fines fractions for the production of nano-ligno-cellulose (NLC). The integration of a NLC unit process in a high yield pulping production line has a potential to become a future way to improve the quality level of traditional products such as paper and board grades. The intention of this research work was that, by using this concept, a knowledge base can be created so that it becomes possible to develop a low-cost production method for its implementation.In order to study the potential of this concept, treatment of thermo-mechanical pulp (TMP) fines fractions were studied by means of homogenisation It seems possible to homogenise fine particles of thermo-mechanical pulp (1% w/v) to NLC. A correspond fines fraction from bleached kraft pulp (BKP) was tested as a reference at 0.5% w/v concentration.The objective presented in this work was to develop a methodology for producing mechanical pulp based NLC from fines fractions and to utilise this material as strength additives in paper and board grades. Laboratory sheets of CTMP and BKP, with addition of their respective NLC, were made in a Rapid Köthen sheet former. It was found that handsheets of pulp fibres blended with NLC improved the z-strength and other important mechanical properties for similar sheet densities.The characterisation of the particle size distribution of NLC is both important and challenging and the crill methodology developed at Innventia (former STFI) already during the 1980s was tested to see if it would be both fast and reliable enough. The crill measurement technique is based on the optical responses of a micro/nano particle suspension at two wavelengths of light; UV and IR. The crill value of TMP and CTMP based nano-ligno-cellulose were measured as a function of the homogenisation time. Results showed that the crill value of both TMP-NLC and CTMP-NLC correlated with the homogenisation time.