A comparison of softwood and birch kraft pulp fibers as raw materials for production of TEMPO-oxidized pulp, MFC and superabsorbent foam
Journal article, 2013
This study compares the suitability of using birch kraft pulp or softwood kraft pulp in the preparation of TEMPO-oxidized pulp, MFC and superabsorbent foam. TEMPO oxidation was performed using five different dosages of primary oxidant. The time of disintegration treatment was varied to study its influence on the properties of the produced MFCs and foams. Both the birch and the softwood pulps could be used for producing superabsorbent foams, depending on the process conditions, the absorption capacities were about the same for the two pulps and varied between 25 and 55 g saline solution/g absorbent. The foams based on birch pulp had, however, on average, 30 % higher retention capacity than the foams based on softwood pulp. The maximum retention capacity obtained was 16.6 g saline solution/g absorbent. The greater retention capacity of birch-based foams is not fully understood, but a smaller pore size may be the reason, which in turn would generate greater capillary forces. In addition to this, it was found that birch pulps, contrary to softwood pulps, had a substantial amount of fibers that were relatively unaffected by the disintegration treatment. These oxidized fibers are likely to reinforce the foam, thereby making the foam more resistant to external pressures, which is in accordance with earlier findings.