Alkali treatment of birch kraft pulp to enhance its TEMPO catalyzed oxidation with hypochlorite

R. Pönni (Corresponding Author), T. Pääkkönen, M. Nuopponen, Jaakko Pere, T. Vuorinen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    Alkali treatment was used to increase the reactivity of birch kraft pulp prior to its 2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-1-piperidinyloxy (TEMPO) catalyzed oxidation with hypochlorite, which is a process commonly applied to prepare nanofibrillated cellulose. On contrary to the traditional use of NaBr as a cocatalyst, TEMPO was activated with HOCl prior to the oxidation. Commonly, the lack of bromide increases the oxidation time and impairs the formation of carboxylic groups. However, the reaction time of the bromide-free TEMPO catalyzed oxidation could be shortened from 2.5 to 0.5 h when the pulp was treated with 1 M NaOH prior to the oxidation (2.4 mmol NaOCl/g pulp). The beneficial effect was obtained even if the alkali treatment was executed at room temperature and only for few minutes. Moreover, the alkali pretreatment enabled selective production of a pulp with carboxylate content as high as 1.6 mmol/g with NaOCl dosage of 4.4 mmol/g. The changes in the cellulosic raw material during the alkali treatment were assessed by water retention value and carbohydrate analysis.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2859-2869
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • birch
    • hypochlorite
    • nanofibrillated cellulose
    • oxidation
    • water retention value
    • xylan
    • craft pulp


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