Paper Production from Mauritian Hemp Fibres

Abstract

Purpose

The study examines the potential of Mauritian hemp (Furcraea foetida L.), a lignocellulosic non-wood biomass, as a more environmental friendly substitute to virgin wood for printing paper production.

Methods

The best pulping method for Mauritian hemp was first investigated. A4 sized papers were then produced using 100% Mauritian hemp fibres and mixtures of Mauritian hemp fibres with Elephant grass fibres and wastepaper. Using Standard tests, the physical (thickness, grammage, apparent density, water absorbency) and mechanical (tensile strength, burst strength, crease recovery, abrasion resistance) properties of the papers produced were evaluated and compared with those of an 80 gsm A4 commercial printing paper used as control. Lastly, internal sizing was done by adding different proportions of starch to the paper whose properties were closest to the control (judged most printable) to investigate any property enhancement.

Results

Soda cooking with 12% Wt/V NaOH solution at a temperature of 90 °C for 90 min was found best for pulping Mauritian hemp. The 100% Mauritian hemp paper had characteristics closest to the control, with apparent density 141.54 kg/m3, water absorbency time 1.436 s, burst strength 0.323 kPa m2/g, tensile strength 10.97 Nm/g, abrasion resistance 37.5 cycles before rupture and crease recovery angle 34.8°. Increasing the starch content from 10 to 40% caused the 100% Mauritian hemp paper’s characteristics to increasingly approach those of the control, thus showing printability improvement.

Conclusion

The methodologies adopted for papermaking and testing demonstrated that Mauritian hemp is a suitable alternative to wood to produce good quality printing paper.

Graphic Abstract

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Correspondence to Pratima Jeetah.

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Amode, N.S., Jeetah, P. Paper Production from Mauritian Hemp Fibres. Waste Biomass Valor (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12649-020-01125-y

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Keywords

  • Mauritian hemp fibre
  • Printing paper production
  • Non-wood biomass
  • Mechanical properties
  • Physical properties
  • Starch internal sizing