The initial phase of sodium sulfite pulping of softwood A comparison of different pulping options

University dissertation from Karlstad : Karlstads universitet

Abstract: Single stage and two-stage sodium sulfite cooking were carried out on either spruce, pine or pure pine heartwood chips to investigate the influence of several process parameters on the initial phase of such a cook down to about 60 % pulp yield. The cooking experiments were carried out in the laboratory with either a lab-prepared or a mill-prepared cooking acid and the temperature and time were varied. The influences of dissolved organic and inorganic components in the cooking liquor on the final pulp composition and on the extent of side reactions were investigated. Kinetic equations were developed and the activation energies for delignification and carbohydrate dissolution were calculated using the Arrhenius equation. A better understanding of the delignification mechanisms during bisulfite and acid sulfite cooking was obtained by analyzing the lignin carbohydrate complexes (LCC) present in the pulp when different cooking conditions were used. It was found that using a mill-prepared cooking acid beneficial effect with respect to side reactions, extractives removal and higher stability in pH during the cook were observed compared to a lab-prepared cooking acid. However, no significant difference in degrees of delignification or carbohydrate degradation was seen. The cellulose yield was not affected in the initial phase of the cook however; temperature had an influence on the rates of both delignification and hemicellulose removal. It was also found that the  corresponding activation energies increased in the order:  xylan, glucomannan, lignin and cellulose. The cooking temperature could thus be used to control the cook to a given carbohydrate composition in the final pulp. Lignin condensation reactions were observed during acid sulfite cooking, especially at higher temperatures. The LCC studies indicated the existence of covalent bonds between lignin and hemicellulose components with respect to xylan and glucomannan. LCC in native wood showed the presence of phenyl glycosides, ϒ-esters and α-ethers; whereas the α-ethers  were affected during sulfite pulping. The existence of covalent bonds between lignin and wood polysaccharides might be the rate-limiting factor in sulfite pulping.