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Tying together the ultrastructural modifications of wood fibre induced by pulping processes with the mechanical properties of paper

Chevalier-Billosta, Valérie, Joseleau, Jean-Paul, Cochaux, Alain, Ruel, Katia
Cellulose 2007 v.14 no.2 pp. 141-152
cell walls, cellulose, delamination, drying, manufacturing, mechanical properties, paper, polymers, pulping, recycling, refiners, refining, transmission electron microscopy, ultrastructure, wood fibers
The composition and ultrastructural arrangement of cell wall polymers in wood fibres have determining influence on the properties of wood derived materials. It is therefore important to improve our understanding of the relationship between fibres organisation, the modifications induced by pulping treatments, and the resulting paper sheet mechanical properties. The different treatments to which fibres are subjected during the manufacturing of pulps and papers induce morphological and micro-structural alterations due to the removal of wall constituents and of microfibrillar elements. The impact of pulping processes on fibres was investigated at the ultrastructural scale of transmission electron microscopy. Particular attention was given to the effects of beating in refiners at various intensities on the ultrastructure of fibres. The most characteristic effects consisted of delaminations, microfibril disorganisation, and even fractures, of varying importance depending on the intensity of the mechanical refining. The consequences of internal alterations and surface modifications of the fibres were examined in relation to the paper sheet mechanical properties. Correlations between the type of alteration observed in the fibres and its possible impact on a given paper mechanical property are suggested. With similar approaches, the effects of drying and recycling were studied.