Use of steam explosion as a green alternative method to prepare pulp from pineapple leaves
Keywords:Pineapple leaf fibers, Steam explosion, Mechanical properties, Degree of polymerization, Cellulose
AbstractThe use of agricultural wastes as an alternative form of the cellulosic material to wood has gained considerable attention due to the reduction of deforestation. After cultivation, a large number of pineapple leaves are considered as a waste. Here, the potential steam explosion process was used as a green alternative way to prepare pulp from pineapple leaves without any addition of the chemical treatments. The pineapple leaf fibers were defibrillated from fiber bundles due to the rapid depressurization with the steam pressure between 16 and 20 kgfÂ·cm-2. The partly removal of hemicellulose and lignin associated with the increase of the cellulose content was found from the fibers after introducing the steam explosion process. With increasing the steam pressure, the decrease of the fiber widths and degree of polymerization were observed, and a higher content of cellulose and less contents of hemicellulose and lignin were obtained. The tensile index of the paper was enhanced when the fibers were steam exploded with the higher steam pressure. The paper prepared from the 20 kgf cm-2 steam exploded fibers showed the higher tensile index value of 8.18 Nm g-1 in comparison with that of 4.50 Nm g-1 obtained from the paper of the untreated fibers. In contrast, the lower tear index of the paper made from the fibers steam exploded with the higher steam pressure was found. Pineapple leaf fibers would be possibly used as an alternative material in pulp and paper applications and as a reinforcing agent in composite applications.
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