, Volume 26, Issue 10, pp 5925–5936 | Cite as

The relevance of the pretreatment on the chemical modification of cellulosic fibers

  • Roberto AguadoEmail author
  • Ana F. Lourenço
  • Paulo J. T. Ferreira
  • Ana Moral
  • Antonio Tijero
Original Research


Cationized fibers and other kinds of chemically modified fibers impart many advantages in papermaking, but unfeasibly long reaction times are necessary to attain acceptable degrees of substitution, due to the low reactivity of bleached kraft pulps. In this work, different aqueous pretreatments were tested in order to activate cellulose towards a 60 min-long etherification with a quaternary ammonium reagent. Severe decrystallization treatments, namely alkalization with NaOH 20%, NaOH/urea or FeTNa, conducted to the best reactivity results (substitution from 2 to 10%), but the fiber properties were harshly affected. Pretreatments involving H3PO4 at different concentrations were also performed, with distinct results, from unnoticeable effects at 20% to amorphization and excessive depolymerization at 80%. Finally, aqueous ammonium thiocyanate was tested as activator and had little effect on fibers, although the addition of ammonia resulted in high degrees of substitution, while maintaining the pulps’ capability to retain inter-fiber water and cellulose I as the prevalent allomorph.

Graphical abstract


Activation Cationization of cellulose Degree of crystallinity Pretreatment Swelling X-ray diffraction 



Roberto Aguado is thankful to Asociación Universitaria Iberoamericana de Posgrado for the grant to fund an internship in Coimbra. Ana F. Lourenço acknowledges Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia for the Ph.D. Grant SFRH/BDE/108095/2015.

Supplementary material

10570_2019_2517_MOESM1_ESM.doc (56 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 56 kb)
10570_2019_2517_MOESM2_ESM.csv (215 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (CSV 214 kb)
10570_2019_2517_MOESM3_ESM.csv (56 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (CSV 55 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Molecular Biology and Biochemical Engineering Department, ECOWALPablo de Olavide UniversitySevilleSpain
  2. 2.Chemical Engineering Department, CIEPQPFUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  3. 3.Grupo de Celulosa y Papel, Chemical Engineering DepartmentComplutense University of MadridMadridSpain

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