Influence of adsorbed polyelectrolytes and adsorption conditions on creep properties of paper sheets made from unbleached kraft pulp
Paper materials exhibit a significant time-dependent mechanical behaviour, such as creep and stress-relaxation. It is known that the creep of the paper affects the performance of corrugated boxes. The production of a paper having a lower creep rate is therefore desirable. Polyelectrolytes commonly used to increase the strength of paper could be an alternative for improving the creep properties. The influence of polymeric additives on the creep properties of paper is, however, poorly described in the literature. Published studies have shown that polymeric additives do not affect the creep behaviour of fully efficiently loaded paper sheets and that the fibre cell walls and the fibre/fibre joints have fundamentally different effects on the creep behaviour.The aim of the present thesis was to examine the influence of adsorbed polyelectrolytes on the creep behaviour of paper sheets made from the modified fibres. One of the main objectives was to establish whether there is a difference in effect on creep properties between adsorbing a cationic polyelectrolyte – polyallylamine – to the fibre surfaces or throughout the fibre cell walls.A technique which includes the labelling of polyelectrolytes with a fluorescent dye and microscopy of single fibres provided a visual record of the localisation of the adsorbed polyelectrolyte. This method showed that a low ionic strength and a short adsorption time resulted in adsorption of the polyelectrolyte only to the external parts of the fibres. A high ionic strength and a long adsorption time on the other hand, resulted in adsorption throughout the fibre walls. This made it possible to study the relationship between the mechanical properties of the sheets and the localisation of the adsorbed polyelectrolyte.Creep testing of the sheets showed that the adsorption of polyallylamine to the exterior parts of fibres decreased the creep at both 50% and 90% RH. The effect depended, however, on the type of fibre used. Adsorption of cationic starch to the fibres gave no significant reduction in creep rate, despite the fact that starch and polyallylamine had similar effect on the paper strength.When polyallylamine was adsorbed into the fibre cell walls, the creep at 90% RH increased. It is suggested that this was due to a deswelling of the fibres by the adsorbed polyelectrolyte, which resulted in fewer fibre/fibre contact points and hence a less efficient distribution of stresses in the sheet. It was not, however, possible to draw any definitive conclusions about the mechanisms behind the observed differences in creep behaviour.
School:Kungliga Tekniska högskolan
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:TECHNOLOGY; Chemical engineering; Chemical process and manufacturing engineering; Cellulose and paper engineering
Date of Publication:01/01/2007