A way of reducing the energy demand in TMP by shear/compression deformation

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: One of the major cost factors in mechanical pulp production is the electrical energy input. Much of the research in this field has therefore been devoted to an understanding of the mechanisms in the refining process and, consequently, to find ways of reducing the electrical energy consumption. Shear and compression are probably the main types of fibre deformation occurring in refiners for collapsing and fibrillating the fibres into a suitable pulp. In current refiners, the repeated mechanical action of the bars on the fibres consumes large amounts of energy in a treatment of mechanical fibres that is almost random.Fundamental studies of the deformation of wood have indicated that a combination of shearing and compression forces is highly beneficial in terms of fibre deformation with a low energy demand. Pure compression is able to permanently deform the fibre but requires a substantial amount of work, while pure shearing, although being much less energy demanding, does not lead to any permanent deformations. A more suitable application of the shear and compression forces on the wood fibres during the refining process could be a way to develop fibres at a lower energy demand. These ideas have been studied in this work trying to find new ways of saving energy in the mechanical pulping process.The first paper in this thesis discusses the way of producing wood shavings and the introduction of shear/compression deformations in these, as well as the potential benefits of using them instead of wood chips as raw material for TMP production. With the shaving process, high deformations in the wood cells were achieved by the shear and compression forces. This led to energy savings of about 25% at a given tensile index, when compared to traditional chips. The quality of the pulp produced from wood shavings was found to be better than that of the pulp produced from wood chips, when it came to strength properties (except for tear index) and optical properties at comparable energy levels.Another way of reducing energy consumption in refining involving a limited shear combined with compression forces for the mechanical treatment of both wood chips and coarse fibres was also studied. This work shows that such a kind of treatment resulted in a high degree of fibre collapse at low energy demands. The thick-walled transition fibres could even be permanently deformed. Furthermore, refining trials, utilising shear and compression pre-treated chips, showed that the strength properties, except for tear index, along with the optical properties of a TMP could be improved and the electrical energy consumed could be reduced by approx. 100 kWh/tonne, when compared to untreated chips.The results from the pilot trials described in this work could be used as a starting point for further implementation in the industry, in order to identify the most efficient way of producing mechanical pulp with a lower consumption of electrical energy.