Production and characterization of cellulose nanofibers from wood pulp
Cellulose nanofibers with a size range of 5–100 nm have the potential to be a low cost renewable material that has application in a range of products. However, current chemical methods to produce crystallinenanofibers suffer from low yields and high chemical costs, while mechanical methods require high energy costs. Methods to lower the energy costs of the mechanical methods have not been well documented in the literature. A bleached softwood kraft pulp was processed using a mechanical dispersion mill and a homogenizer to produce cellulose nanofibers. Two different commercial enzymes were used to pretreat the wood fibers before the mechanical treatments. The resulting nanofibers were characterized by light microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and inverse gas chromatography. Results indicate that the dispersion mill does not affect the overall pulp fiber fibrillation, but does help prepare the sample for the homogenizer. Most fibrillation occurs after three passes through the homogenizer. The enzyme pretreatment has little effect on the size of the fibers, but does allow for higher solids to pass through the homogenizer without clogging. The dispersion component of surface energy of the resulting nanofibrils is impacted by the type of enzyme used. The measurement of acid–base properties proved to be challenging using current IGC experimental protocols.Keywords: Cellulose nanofibers, nano-fibrillated cellulose, kraft pulp, enzymes, homogenizer, atomic force microscopy, inverse gas chromatographySiddiqui, N., Mills, R. H., Gardner, D. J., & Bousfield, D. (2011). Production and characterization of cellulose nanofibers from wood pulp. Journal of Adhesion Science and Technology, 25(6-7), 709-721.