The surface properties of unbleached kraft pulp fibers of varying lignin content prepared by digestion with different amounts of excess alkali have been investigated using polyelectrolyte titration, potentiometric titration and ESCA. The surfaces contain two different acidic groups that dissociate completely above pH 7.5, one with pK ≈ 3.6 and one with pK ≈ 5.7. The amount of the latter group correlates directly with the amount of lignin in the pulp. The ESCA analysis indicates that the relative amount of carboxylic groups and alkyl carbon in the surface decreases as the lignin content decreases and also that material with high alkyl carbon content is enriched in the outermost surface of the cellulose. Thus, a combination of ESCA analysis and high-precision titrations is able to yield a very detailed picture of the effect of digestion conditions on surface properties of cellulose fibers of direct relevance to paper properties.
- cellulose fibres
- electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis
- fibre charge
- potentiometric titration