The influence of shear on the dewatering of high consistency nanofibrillated cellulose furnishes

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This paper demonstrates a way to utilize the rheological properties of high consistency microfibrillated and nanofibrillated cellulose (MFC and NFC) based furnishes for improved dewatering. This is relevant to a new manufacturing platform that is being developed to form composite webs from suitable mixtures of MFC or NFC, traditional pulp fibres and pigments. The studied furnishes were evaluated in the consistencies range of 5–15 % with an MCR 300 rheometer and an immobilization cell. This setup enables us to characterize the rheology of the samples before and during the dewatering process. Classical rheological methods are used to characterise MFC and NFC furnishes. Yield stress as an indicator of the flocculated network strength was found to increase with the consistencies, following the increase in elastic moduli, which indicated a gel-like strongly flocculated matrix. The shear thinning properties of furnishes are observed to follow the Oswald’s rheological model on a wide range of shear rates. It was found that when the MFC and NFC furnishes were dewatered under vacuum conditions, the final solids content was increased with application of shear. This behaviour is more pronounced for furnishes which contained the more swollen NFC (higher WRV, i.e. higher zeta potential). This effect is further exemplified by the change of the complex and dynamic viscosities during the dewatering. The shear rate, the fibre content, and the furnish consistencies were also found to influence the dewatering rate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1853-1864
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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