Interactions between fibres, fines and fillers in papermaking : influence on dewatering and retention of pulp suspensions
Liimatainen, Henrikki (2009-09-08)
Interactions between the components of papermaking suspensions (e.g. fibres, fillers, fines and polymers) have a remarkable effect on various unit processes in papermaking. The filterability of fibre suspensions, which is a crucial property for example in paper sheet forming and solid recovery, is also known to be depended on particle interactions. However, due to the complex nature of the interactions, the role of these phenomena in fibre suspension filtration is still not fully understood. The focus of this thesis was to find out how phenomena associated to fibre flocculation, fibre deflocculation and filler particle deposition affect the filterability of fibre suspensions in terms of their dewaterability and retention.
It was shown that the influence of fibre flocculation on dewatering is closely related to the structure of fibre flocs. More importantly, the internal density of flocs and factors that impacted the packing structure of filter cakes, such as floc size, played a crucial role in fibre suspension dewaterability. Dense flocs with a low internal porosity particularly induces fast water flow by a mechanism termed as the “easiest path mechanism” through the large voids around the flocs.
The effect of fibre suspension dispersing on dewaterability and particularly fines retention was found to be associated to the mechanism of action of the deflocculation agent. Carboxymethylcellulose (CMC), the deflocculant used in this study, had detrimental effects on the dewatering of a pulp suspension both when being adsorbed on fibre surfaces and when remained in the liquid phase. However, adsorbed CMC causes more plugging of the filter cake because it disperses the fines more profoundly. Thus the adsorbed CMC also reduces fines retention considerably more than CMC did in the liquid phase.
Filler deposition and retention was found to be significantly higher on pulp fines fractions of mechanical and chemical pulp than on fibre fractions due to the higher external surface area of fines. The surface charge densities of pulp fractions also affected their ability to adsorb fillers. Cationic charges of filler particles was in turn observed to induce deposition of fillers on fibre surfaces which increased retention but also the dewaterability of a fibre suspension due to a decrease in total surface area of a suspension.
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