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06.03.2018 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 4/2018 Open Access

Cellulose 4/2018

Electroosmotic dewatering of cellulose nanocrystals

Cellulose > Ausgabe 4/2018
Jonas Wetterling, Karin Sahlin, Tuve Mattsson, Gunnar Westman, Hans Theliander


One of the main challenges for industrial production of cellulose nanocrystals is the high energy demand during the dewatering of dilute aqueous suspensions. It is addressed in this study by utilising electroosmotic dewatering to increase the solid content of suspensions of cellulose nanocrystals. The solid content was increased from 2.3 up to 15.3 wt%, i.e. removal of more than 85% of all the water present in the system, at a much lower energy demand than that of thermal drying. Increasing the strength of the electric field increased not only the dewatering rate but also the specific energy demand of the dewatering operation: the electric field strength used in potential industrial applications is thus a trade-off between the rate of dewatering and the energy demand. Additionally, it was found that high local current intensity had the potential of degrading cellulose nanocrystals in contact with the anode. The maximum strength of the electric field applied should therefore be limited depending on the equipment design and the suspension conditions.
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