On the strength improvement of lightweight fibre networks by polymers, fibrils and fines

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Novel lightweight cellulose fibre materials containing various strength enhancing polymeric and fibrillar components were formed with the help of foam technology. Increasing inter-fibre bond strength and local material density was attempted with unique lignin-containing wood fines (V-fines), cellulose microfibrils (CMF), TEMPO-oxidized cellulose nanofibrils (TCNF), and macromolecules such as cationic starch, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), and locust bean gum (LBG). The investigated fibres included both long hemp bast fibres and northern bleached softwood Kraft pulp. In the low-density range of 38–52 kg/m3, the compression stress and modulus were highly sensitive to inter-fibre bond properties, the multi-scale features of the fibre network, and the foaming agent employed. Still, the compression-stress behaviour in most cases approached the same theoretical curve, derived earlier by using a mean-field theory to describe the deformation behaviour. At 10% addition level of fine components, the specific compression stress and compression modulus increased in the order of V-fines < CMF < TCNF. A tremendous increase in the compression modulus was obtained with LBG, leading to a material surface that was very hard. In general, the foams made with PVA, which acts both as foaming agent and reinforcing macromolecule, led to better strength than what was obtained with a typical anionic sodium dodecyl sulphate surfactant. Strength could be also improved by refining the softwood pulp.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6961-6976
Number of pages16
Issue number12
Early online date28 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • foam forming
  • cellulose nanofibril
  • wood fines
  • fibre
  • softwood
  • hemp
  • polyvinyl alcohol
  • locust bean gum
  • compression test
  • stress
  • strain
  • model


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