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Free radical mediated cellulose degradation
KTH, Superseded Departments, Chemistry.
2003 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

This thesis addresses the mechanisms involved in cellulosedegradation in general and Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) bleachingof pulp in particular. The thesis shows that the cellulosedegradation during high consistency ozone bleaching is explainedby free radical chain reactions.

By simulation, it has been shown that the number, weight andviscosity average of liner polymer chain length can be used tocalculate the number of random scissions in a linear polymer ofany molecular weight distribution, provided that there is acalibrated Mark-Houwink equation. A model describing partialdegradation of molecular weight distributions of linear polymersmeasured with viscometry was developed and verifiedexperimentally. The model predicts viscometric measurement ofchemical cellulose degradation by a rapidly reacting reagent tobe strongly dependent on cellulose accessibility.

The role of free radical reactions in cellulose degradationwas studied by varying the amount of ferrous ions and ozone addedto the cotton linters. The result was compared to the resultsobtained from cellulose of lower crystallinity (cellulose beads)by measuring average chain length. When a ferryl ion reacted withcotton linters in the presence of ozone, the very formation ofone glycosidic radical was more significant to degradation thanthe final step of forming one oxidised glycoside. The inefficientdegradation observed of the oxidation step is explainable by theamount of accessible glycosides being too small to influenceviscometry. The efficient degradation observed in associationwith the glycosidic radical formation is explained by initiationof free radical chain reactions that are propagated as long asthere is ozone in the system. As none of these phenomena werefound in the less crystalline cellulose, cellulose structureappears to be important for how free radical mediated cellulosedegradation develops.

The theory of free radical chain reactions coupled withdiffusion suggests a concentric expansion of the chain reactionsoutwards from the initial site of radical formation duringozonation of carbohydrates. This was confirmed by demonstratingfree radical chain reactions spreading from a spot of initiationoutwards during ozonation of a filter paper, using a pH-indicatorto monitor acid formation. Furthermore, the interior and exteriorof cellulose fibres doped with initiator were shown to bepermeated by small holes after ozonation.

Ethylene glycol was shown to improve the selectivity duringozone bleaching of oxygen bleached kraft pulp at pH 3. Optimalconditions were obtained at pH 3 for 25 wt% ethylene glycol. Theinfluence of ethylene glycol on selectivity is explained by aproportion of the free radical chain reactions being carried bythe ethylene glycol instead of the cellulose during ozonebleaching. The observations were summarised in the form of amodel where the observed degradations for pulp, bleached pulp andcotton fibres during both ozone bleaching and ethylene glycolassisted ozone bleaching were shown to agree with each other.

From g-irradiation of ozonised aqueous solutions of alcohol,the rate constant of superoxide formation from the peroxylradical of methanol was estimated to be 10 s-1. Rate constants of the reactions between ozone andalkylperoxyl radicals were determined to be around 104M-1s-1. The possibility of the reaction betweenalkylperoxyl radicals and ozone contributing significantly tofree radical chain reactions during ozonation of carbohydratesand alcohols could therefore be ruled out.

Cellulose, degradation, free radical, ozone, selectivity,ethylene glycol, alcohol, bleaching, kraft pulp, cotton linters,delignification, fibre, fibril, crystallinity, ferryl ion, freeradical chain reactions, TCF, viscometry, molecular weightdistributions, random scissions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Kemi , 2003. , 60 p.
Trita-KKE, ISSN 0349-6465 ; 0301
Keyword [en]
free radicals, cellulose, polymer, average chain length, bleaching, TCF, ozone, degradation
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-3477ISBN: 91-7283-447-1OAI: diva2:9280
Public defence
NR 20140805Available from: 2003-02-26 Created: 2003-02-26Bibliographically approved

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