Solid-state 13C NMR spectroscopy was used to determine the degree of cellulose crystallinity (CrI) in kraft, flow-through kraft and polysulphide-anthraquinone (PS-AQ) pulps of pine and birch containing various amounts of hemicelluloses. The applicability of acid hydrolysis and the purely spectroscopic proton spin-relaxation based spectral edition (PSRE) method to remove the interfering hemicellulose signals prior to the determination of CrI were also compared. For softwood pulps, the spectroscopic removal of hemicelluloses by PSRE was found to be more efficient than the removal of hemicelluloses by acid hydrolysis. In addition to that, the PSRE method also provides information on the associations between cellulose and hemicelluloses. On the basis of the incomplete removal of xylan from the cellulose subspectra by PSRE, the deposition of xylan on cellulose fibrils and therefore an ordered ultrastructure of xylan in birch pulps was suggested. The ordered structure of xylan in birch pulps was also supported by the observed change of xylan conformation after regeneration. Similarly, glucomannan in pine pulps may have an ordered structure. According to the 13C CPMAS measurements conducted after acid hydrolysis, the degree of cellulose crystallinity was found to be slightly lower in birch pulps than in the pine pulps. Any significant differences in cellulose crystallinity were not found between the pulps obtained by the various pulping methods. Only in pine PS-AQ pulp, the degree of cellulose crystallinity may be slightly lower than in the kraft pulps containing less hemicelluloses.
- Acid hydrolysis
- Solid-state NMR spectroscopy