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How does the never-dried state influence the swelling and dissolution of cellulose fibres in aqueous solvent?

Abstract : The swelling and dissolution capacity of dried and never-dried hardwood and softwood pulps and cotton linters was compared in two aqueous solvents, N-methylmorpholine-N-oxide (NMMO)-water at 90 °C with water contents ranging from 16 to 22% and NaOH--water at −6 °C with NaOH contents ranging from 5 to 8%. Swelling and dissolution mechanisms were observed by optical microscopy and dissolution efficiency was evaluated by recovering insoluble fractions. The results show a contrasted picture towards the effect of the never-dried state on the swelling and the dissolution capacity depending on the origin of the fibres and the type of aqueous solvent. In the case of NMMO--water, the presence of water within and around the fibre does not seem to favour dissolution initiation but after 2 h of mixing the dissolution yield appears to be similar for either dried or never-dried state. The limiting factor for dissolution in NMMO--water is not the penetration of the solvent inside the cellulose fibres, but only the local concentration of NMMO molecules around the fibre. For NaOH--water, both optical microscopy observations on individual fibres and dissolution yield measurements show that the never-dried state is more reactive for softwood pulps and cotton linters and has no significant effect on hardwood pulps. In this case, the local decrease of solvent strength is counteracted by the opening of the structure in the never-dried state which should enable the Na+ hydrated ions to penetrate easier.
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Monica Spinu, Nuno dos Santos, Nicolas Le Moigne, Patrick Navard. How does the never-dried state influence the swelling and dissolution of cellulose fibres in aqueous solvent?. Cellulose, Springer Verlag, 2011, 18 (2), pp.247-256. ⟨10.1007/s10570-010-9485-8⟩. ⟨hal-00573828⟩

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