Cellulose dissolution in aqueous NaOH–ZnO : effect of pulp pretreatment at macro and molecular levels

Saija Väisänen*, Harri Kosonen, Matti Ristolainen, Tapani Vuorinen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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This paper discusses the effect of hydrolytic pretreatments on pulp dissolution in the aqueous NaOH–ZnO solvent system. Eight samples were studied. They consisted of a never-dried softwood kraft pulp that was hydrolyzed under seven different conditions as well as the pulp without hydrolysis as a reference. The dissolution of the pulps was evaluated both at the macro level as well as at the molecular level based on their reactivity with 4-acetamido-2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxo-piperidium (4-AcNH-TEMPO+). The fiber properties (i.e. the extent of fibrillation, amount of fines and fiber width, coarseness, and length) as well as the chemical composition (hemicellulose and cellulose contents) and the viscosity of the pulps was investigated. The results show that hydrolysis at medium consistency (10%) was successful in increasing the solubility of cellulose. Hydrolysis at high consistency (50%), on the other hand, increased the solubility only to some extent. With extended treatment time the fibers formed aggregates and their dissolution became poor. This phenomenon could be overcome by mechanically refining the fibers after the hydrolysis. Moreover, comparison of the viscosity of the pulp over the degree of oxidation revealed that the viscosity needed to decrease below ca. 400 ml/g in order for the outer layers of the fibers to dissolve. Finally, when pulps with similar viscosities where compared against each other, the ones with the higher glucomannan contents formed gels over time. This was true also for the pulp with the lowest viscosity and the highest solubility of the studied samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4385-4396
Number of pages12
Issue number7
Early online date4 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Cellulose
  • Dissolution
  • Hydrolysis
  • Reactivity
  • TEMPO-oxidation


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