Conference proceedings article

Aspects of fibre wall swelling in high-yield pulp.


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Publication Details

Author list: Engstrand, Per;Fjellström, Helena;Htun, Myat

Publication year: 2012

Start page: 1183

End page: 1186

Number of pages: 4

ISBN: 978-7-5019-9043-6

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When producing mechanical pulps the fibre separation will take place in the weakest part of the wood matrix. A prerequisite to swelling in wood and mechanical pulps is that the wood matrix is softened. The position of where the weakest part of the wood matrix is situated can to a large extent be controlled by adjustment of the swelling and softening properties of each of the wood polymers (lignin, hemicelluloses and cellulose). Most probably the efficiency of the external and internal fibrillation of the fibre walls is also influenced by how the swelling and softening properties are controlled. The combination of position of fibre-fibre separation together with the efficiency of the external and internal fibrillation will to a large extent determine the energy demand to produce mechanical pulps. Refining of wood chips with different state of softening and swelling will give rise to fibres with different optical and physical properties. The most important parameters that influence the wood matrix and wood fibres’ ability to swell are temperature, pH, ionic form of and the amount of charged groups in the hemicelluloses and lignin of the cell walls. In order to improve the level of knowledge on how to influence the degree of wood matrix and fibre wall swelling of mechanical pulps we have undertaken to study the swelling properties of wood and fibres produced by means of different mechanical pulping processes.

It was found that pulps not containing sulphonic acid groups need to be heated above the softening temperature of lignin in order to be able to swell to their full capacity. Introduction of sulphonic acid groups also opens up the rigid structure of lignin which lowers the softening temperature and increases the swelling potential even at lower temperatures. The effect of valence of the counter ion was also shown to be more pronounced after adding more carboxylic acid groups to a pulp. Depending on the number and type of anionic acid groups in the fibres, high-yield pulps will have different combinations of properties in different ionic conditions. The preliminary conclusions from this study are that the ability to control swelling properties of mechanical pulps is an important feature to take into account when producing pulp and paper.


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