It has been a challenge to develop rapid online characterisation techniques for nanocellulose given the fibrillar structure of the nanoparticles. The crill optical analyser uses optical response signals in the infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) wavelength ranges to evaluate the particle size properties of micro/nanofibrillar cellulosic materials. In this work, the crill analyser was used to measure the projected areas of UV and IR light sources by measuring the light blocked by nanocellulosic particles. This work uses the crill methodology as a new, simplified technique to characterise the particle size distribution of nanocellulosic material based on chemi-thermomechanical pulp (CTMP), thermomechanical pulp (TMP), and sulphite pulp (SP). In the first part, hydrogen peroxide pretreatment of CTMP and TMP in a wing mill refiner followed by high-pressure homogenisation to produce microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) was evaluated using the crill method. In the second part, TEMPO oxidation of CTMP and SP combined with high-shear homogenisation to produce MFC was studied using the crill method. With 4 % hydrogen peroxide pretreatment, the crill values of the unhomogenised samples were 218 and 214 for the TMP and CTMP, respectively, improving to 234 and 229 after 18 homogenisation passes. The results of the TEMPO method indicated that, for the 5 mmol NaClO SP-MFC, the crill value was 108 units at 0 min and 355 units after 90 min of treatment, a 228 % improvement. The CTMP and TMP fibres and the MFC were freeze dried and fibrillar structure of the fibres and microfibrils was visualised using scanning electron and transmission electron microscopy.
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Microfibrillated cellulose