Effect of high-temperature defibration on the chemical structure of hardwood

P. Widsten, J.E. Laine, Pia Qvintus-Leino, S. Tuominen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    39 Citations (Scopus)


    The present paper aims at elucidating the effect of high-temperature defibration at different temperatures on the bulk and surface chemical properties of defibrated birch, aspen and eucalypt.
    The results indicate that defibration of these hardwoods results in partial depolymerization of fiber lignin via (homolytic) cleavage of interunit alkyl-aryl (β-O-4) ether bonds. This increases the phenolic hydroxyl content and produces relatively stable (phenoxy) radicals.
    Syringyl-type lignin is more extensively depolymerized than guaiacyl-type lignin. Defibration generates water-extractable material, which is enriched in hemicellulose-derived carbohydrates and has a substantial content of aromatic compounds rich in phenolic hydroxyl groups.
    The amount of water-extract and the extent of lignin interunit ether bond cleavage increase with an increase in defibration temperature.
    The differences between various hardwood species in this respect are small. The surface chemical composition of the fibers differs considerably from their bulk composition, but is not significantly influenced by variations in defibration temperature.
    Lipophilic extractives cover a large portion of the fiber surface, while the lignin content of lipophilic extractives-free fiber surfaces is 2–3 times as high as the bulk lignin content of the fibers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)51-59
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2002
    MoE publication typeNot Eligible


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