IONCELL-P is a solvent fractionation process, which can separate pulps almost quantitatively into pure cellulose and hemicellulose fractions using IL-water mixtures. In this work the role of the molecular weight of cellulose on its solubility in ionic liquid-water mixtures is studied. The aim of this study was to understand and identify the determining factors of this IONCELL-P fractionation. Cotton linters (CL) served as model cellulose substrate and was degraded by ozone treatment to adjust the molecular weight to that of hemicelluloses and low molar mass cellulose in commercial pulps. The ozone treated CLs were subjected to the IONCELL-P process using 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate ([emim][OAc]) and water mixtures with a water content between 13.5 and 19 wt%. Based on the molar mass distributions of dissolved and undissolved cellulose the effect of the molecular weight of cellulose in IL-water mixture appears to be a key factor in the fractionation process.
- Ionic liquid
- Molecular weight