Adsorption kinetics of cationic polyacrylamides on cellulose fibres and its influence on fibre flocculation

by Solberg, Daniel

Abstract (Summary)
The adsorption of cationic polyacrylamide (C-PAM) and silicananoparticles onto a model surface of silicon oxide wascompared with the adsorption of C-PAM to fibres and theirinfluence on flocculation of a fibre suspension. An increase inionic strength affects the polyelectrolyte adsorption indifferent ways for these two systems. With the silica surface,an increase in the ionic strength leads to a continuousincrease in the adsorption. However, on a cellulose fibre, theadsorption increases at low ionic strength (1 to 10 mM NaCl)and then decreases at higher ionic strength (10 to 100 mMNaCl). It was shown that the adsorption of nanoparticles ontopolyelectrolyte-covered surfaces has a great effect on both theadsorbed amount and the thickness of the adsorbed layer. Theresults showed that electrostatic interactions were thedominating force for the interaction between both the fibresand the polyelectrolytes, and between the polyelectrolytes andthe silica particles. Furthermore, at higher NaClconcentrations, a significant non-ionic interaction between thesilicon oxide surface/particles and the C-PAM was observed.The adsorption rate of C-PAM onto fibres was rapid andquantitative adsorption was detected in the time range between1 and 8 s at polyelectrolyte addition levels below 0.4 mg/g.Conversely, an increase in the amount of added polymer leads toan increased polymer adsorption up to a quasi-static saturationlevel. However, after a few seconds this quasi-staticsaturation level was significantly lower than the level reachedat electrostatic?equilibrium?. The adsorbed amountof charges at full surface coverage after 1 to 8 s contact timecorresponded to only 2 % of the total fibre charge, whereasafter 30 minutes it corresponded to 15 % of the total fibrecharge. This shows that a full surface coverage at shortcontact times is not controlled by surface charge. Based onthese results, it is suggested that a combination of anon-equilibrium charge barrier against adsorption and ageometric restriction can explain the difference between theadsorption during 1 to 8 s and the adsorption after 30 minutes.With increasing time, the cationic groups are neutralised bythe charges on the fibre as the polyelectrolyte reconforms to aflat conformation on the surface.The addition of a high concentration of C-PAM to a fibresuspension resulted in dispersion rather than flocculation.This behaviour is most likely due to an electrostericstabilisation of the fibres when the polyelectrolyte isadsorbed. Flocculation of the fibre suspension occurred at lowadditions of C-PAM. A maximum in flocculation was found ataround 50 % surface coverage and dispersion occurred above 100% surface coverage. It was also shown that for a given level ofadsorbed polymer, a difference in adsorption time between 1 and2 seconds influenced the flocculation behaviour. An optimum inflocculation at 50 % surface coverage in combination with theimportance of polymer reconformation time at these shortcontact times showed that the C-PAM induced fibre flocculationagrees with La Mer and Healy?s description of bridgingflocculation.A greater degree of flocculation was observed with theaddition of silica nanoparticles to the fibre suspension thanin the single polyelectrolyte system. Flocculation increased asa function of the concentration of added nanoparticles until0.5 mg/g. At higher additions the flocculation decreased againand this behaviour is in agreement with an extended model formicroparticle-induced flocculation. An increase in flocculationwas especially pronounced for the more extended silica-2particles. This effect is attributed to the more extendedpolyelectrolyte layer, since the adsorbed amount wasessentially the same for both silica particles.Finally it was found that fines from the wood fibres had asignificant effect on the flocculation. When fines were added,a greater degree of flocculation was detected. Furthermore, itwas also more difficult to redisperse the fibres with polymerin the presence of fines.Keywords:Adsorption, bridging, cationic polymers,cellulose fibres, electrosteric stabilisation flocculation,ionic strength, nanoparticle, polyelectrolyte, reconformation,retention aids and silica
Bibliographical Information:


School:Kungliga Tekniska högskolan

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:Adsorption; bridging; cationic polymers; cellulose fibres; electrosteric stabilisation flocculation,


Date of Publication:01/01/2003

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