Reducing the Amount of Catalyst in TEMPO-Oxidized Cellulose Nanofibers: Effect on Properties and Cost

Cellulose nanofibers (CNF) are interesting biopolymers that find numerous applications in different scientific and technological fields. However, manufacturing costs are still one of the main drawbacks for the industrial production of highly fibrillated, transparent CNF suspensions. In the present study, cellulose nanofibers were produced from bleached eucalyptus pulp via TEMPO-mediated oxidation with varying amounts of NaClO and passed through a high-pressure homogenizer. The CNFs were chemically and physically characterized; cellulose nanopapers were also produced to study tensile properties. Production costs were also calculated. Results indicated that CNF properties are strongly dependent on the carboxyl content. Manufacturing costs showed that chemicals, in particular TEMPO catalyst, represent a large part of the final cost of CNFs. In order to solve this problem, a set of samples were prepared where the amount of TEMPO was gradually reduced. Characterization of samples prepared in this way showed that not only were the costs reduced, but also that the final properties of the CNFs were not significantly affected when the amount of TEMPO was reduced to half ​
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