Isolation and characterization of cellulosic fibers from ramie using organosolv degumming process
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Degumming bast fibers by organic solvents has been a promising method in recent years due to easy recovery and reuse of organic solvents. In this research, the possibility of ramie fiber degumming by glycol and a combination of acetic acid with glycol was studied, in which two steps were involved in the degumming process: distilled water boiling pretreatment and organosolv treatment by a combination of glycol/acetic acid (100/0, 90/10, 80/20, 70/30, 60/40, 50/50). Results displayed that the pretreatment could remove 6.99% of hemicellulose, 0.59% of lignin and 36.26% of other gums compared with raw ramie. While with organosolv treatment (130 °C, 6 h), fibers treated by glycol/acetic acid (50/50) had the best effect of removing gums. The hemicellulose and lignin content of fibers reduced by 44.81% and 54.12%, respectively (compared with raw ramie), while the residual gum content still failed to meet the requirements of spinning process. Besides, the tenacity of glycol/acetic acid treated fibers was lower than that of only glycol treated fibers (4.67 cN/dtex). Considering that the addition of acid could cause a decrease in fiber tenacity, the step of organosolv (only glycol) treatment was optimized by altering the degumming condition. The tenacity, linear density, non-cellulosic component ratio of fibers treated with the optimized condition (200 °C, 80 min) were 6.53 cN/dtex, 6.06 dtex, 5.78%, respectively, which met the needs of industrial production. Compared with the organosolv treated fibers, these properties of fibers with traditional alkaline treatment were better, but the yield (62.4%) was much lower than that of fibers treated with glycol in two degumming condition (77–82%). Considering impressive properties of the treated ramie, the method of organosolv degumming with high degumming efficiency and environmental protection would bring an innovative thought for natural fiber isolation.
KeywordsRamie fiber Acetic acid-glycol Glycol Organosolv degumming
The authors acknowledge the following financial support for the research and authorship of this article: This work was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant Number EG2018006), the Shanghai Municipal Natural Science Foundation (Grant Number 14 ZR1401000) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant Number CUSFDH-D-2017014).
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
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