Paper360 - March/April 2015 - (Page 56)

techlink | MICROFIBRILS Microfibrils set to Transform Paper Furnish The tempting potential for considerably lower furnish cost, superlight and superior quality grades of paper and board is a strong driving force. MARK WILLIAMSON Figure 1. FiberLean™ MFC surface close up. MFC and filler particles are entangled in the paper sheet. Source: Imerys. Figure 2. Data from on-machine trials show FiberLean™ MFC addition increases filler levels in wood-free papers. Source: Imerys. 56 The fledgling nano- and microcellulose revolution in papermaking seems to be upon us-maybe sooner than we thought. There are a number of pilot-plant-scale facilities that are now producing cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) and cellulose microfibrils (CMF) in sufficient quantities for paper machine trials. Moreover, the first revealed continuous addition of CMF on a production paper machine using Imerys' FiberLean process was implemented at Verso's now-closed Bucksport, Maine, mill. Many of the on-machine results are encouraging, as significant fiber savings and improved paper quality properties have been demonstrated. It's still early in the application development phase but many entrants are vying for the market. In fact, the development effort going into fibrils is quite substantial and especially competitive. MAKING THE DISTINCTION First, it's important to make the distinction between crystalline nanocellulose (CNC) and CMF or CNF, the nanoscale fibrillated version. Emily Cranston, a professor of chemical engineering at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., explained in a recent issue of the American Chemical Society's Chemical & Engineering News that nanocrystals are rice-like, needle-shaped and strong, with diameters in the 5 to 10 nm range and lengths on the order of 100 to 200 nm, depending on the source. CNC has been touted as an additive to produce composite materials stronger than steel, magnetically and optically sensitive materials, barrier films and flexible electronics. Even biomedical and other esoteric applications are possible. On the other hand, Cranston describes nanofibrils, which tend to have roughly 5 nm diameters, as spaghetti-like because they are longer Paper360º MARCH/APRIL 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Paper360 - March/April 2015

Guest Editorial
Over the Wire
TAPPI's Centennial: A Celebration 100 Years in the Making
Precision Alignment of Winders
Single-stream Waste Processing
iRoll at Irving
Fully Automated Continuous Digester
Twin Roll Press Upgrade
TAPPI Journal Summaries
Effluent Treatment
Microfibrils to Transform Paper Furnish
Consolidation Watch
Knowledge Builder
New Energy Windfall
Power from Waste
Safety Survey
Association News
Online Exclusives
Advertisers Index

Paper360 - March/April 2015