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Dissolution mechanisms of wood cellulose fibres in NaOH-water

Abstract : Four wood pulps and a microcrystalline cellulose were dissolved in a NaOH 8%-water solution. Insoluble fractions and clear solution fractions were isolated by centrifugation and were observed by optical microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Molecular weight distribution, carbohydrate composition and cellulose II content were measured. The dissolution of wood cellulose fibres in NaOH 8%-water solutions occurs by successive dismantlement and fragmentation steps governed by the swelling and the shearing of the original structure. The cellulose from insoluble and clear solution fractions is in both case converted in cellulose II and the insoluble fractions contain embedded mannans. Besides, the molecular weight distributions of cellulose from insoluble and clear solution fractions reveal the existence of heterogeneities in dissolution capacity of the cellulose chains, independent to the degree of polymerization, which are related to the chemical environment of the chains in the fibre structure.
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Nicolas Le Moigne, Patrick Navard. Dissolution mechanisms of wood cellulose fibres in NaOH-water. Cellulose, Springer Verlag, 2010, 17 (1), pp.Pages 31-45. ⟨10.1007/s10570-009-9370-5⟩. ⟨hal-00509589⟩

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