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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Electrospun cellulose fibres from kraft pulp Yeoh, Sang Ju


Cellulose, the most abundant biomass extractable from wood, was generated in fibre form from kraft pulp by electrospinning, a fibre-producing process using electrostatic forces. Kraft pulping is the most dominant pulping technique in North America. Kraft pulp fibres (diam. 30μm) have a tensile strength of 700MPa and elastic modulus of 20GPa. In comparison, individual cellulose nanofibrils (diam. 5nm) have a tensile strength of 10GPa and elastic modulus of 150GPa. The strength displayed by cellulose nanofibrils suggests that the smaller fibre diameter could lead to a lower probability of including smaller flaw sizes in the fibre. Electrospinning has been successfully demonstrated as a one-step process to produce cellulose fibres directly from kraft pulp, thereby showing great potential for reducing cost and making the fibre-producing process more environmental friendly. Based on SEM and XRD, the electrospun fibres have a fibrillation-free, nano-filament structure with a seemingly cellulose I crystal structure, indicating significant potential for making crystalline cellulose fibres directly from kraft pulp. Contact angle measurements show that the electrospun fibres appear more hydrophobic than kraft pulp. The mechanical properties of the electrospun fibres have a large variation, suggesting the need for further process optimization. The ability to produce cellulose fibres directly from kraft pulp with improved moisture resistance and mechanical properties could potentially result in the development of more high value-added products for the Canadian pulp and paper industry, and perhaps even globally.

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