Main content area

Chemical composition of “AKD vapour” and its implication to AKD vapour sizing

Shen, Wei, Zhang, Hailong, Ettl, Roland
Cellulose 2005 v.12 no.6 pp. 641-652
cellulose, chemical composition, contact angle, fatty acids, heat, paper, temperature, vapors
Alkyl ketene dimer (AKD) sizing of paper involves the redistribution of the wax over the fibre surface upon heating. The two major mechanisms widely studied so far are the spreading of an autophobic precursor of molten AKD and AKD vapour transport and re-deposition on the fibre surface. All previous work assumed that the transport of AKD vapour could be expressed by the change of water contact angle with substrates that were exposed to the vapour. Information regarding the chemical composition of the vapour phase above the AKD wax has not been found in the literature. In this work, a simple method for analysing the chemical composition of the vapour is established. Our preliminary results indicated that the chemical composition of AKD vapour in the temperature range of 75-80 °C is dominantly fatty acids. This suggests that the sizing effect by actual AKD molecules via the vapour deposition mechanism is likely to be insignificant in this temperature range. This also implies that fatty acids play a positive role in AKD sizing. The chemical stability of AKD in this temperature range is also studied.