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Influence of xylan on the degradability of laboratory kraft pulpsfrom hardwood and reed canary grass in acid hydrolysis

Håkansson, Helena, Germgård, Ulf, Sens, Denis
Cellulose 2005 v.12 no.6 pp. 621-628
Betula, Eucalyptus, Phalaris arundinacea, acid hydrolysis, cellulose, hardwood, kraft pulp, kraft pulping, polymerization, xylan
The depolymerisation of laboratory-prepared kraft pulps from birch, eucalyptus and reed canary grass during acid hydrolysis was studied. The intention was to study especially the influence of xylan content on the levelling-off degree of polymerisation (LODP) and on the dissolution of carbohydrates during the acid hydrolysis. The xylan content in the pulps was varied by prehydrolysis prior to the kraft pulping or by alkali-extraction of the bleached pulps, and the levelling-off degree of polymerisation was compared with the amount of xylan left in the pulps at LODP. The dimensions of the original fibers in the pulps and of the fiber fragments after hydrolysis were also measured. It was found that the fiber fragments after hydrolysis were longer in the pulps containing a higher amount of xylan. Xylan thus appears to prevent degradation during acid hydrolysis, both on the fiber level and on the individual cellulose fibril level.