University of Oulu

Berglund, L., Anugwom, I., Hedenström, M. et al. Cellulose (2017) 24: 3265.

Switchable ionic liquids enable efficient nanofibrillation of wood pulp

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Author: Berglund, Linn1; Anugwom, Ikenna2,3; Hedenström, Mattias2;
Organizations: 1Division of Materials Science, Composite Center Sweden, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden
2Technical Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Chemical-Biological Centre,Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
3Laboratory of Industrial Chemistry and Reaction Engineering, Johan Gadolin Process Chemistry Centre, Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland
4Fibre and Particle Engineering, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2017
Publish Date: 2019-03-05


Use of switchable ionic liquid (SIL) pulp offers an efficient and greener technology to produce nanofibers via ultrafine grinding. In this study, we demonstrate that SIL pulp opens up a mechanically efficient route to the nanofibrillation of wood pulp, thus providing both a low cost and chemically benign route to the production of cellulose nanofibers. The degree of fibrillation during the process was evaluated by viscosity and optical microscopy of SIL treated, bleached SIL treated and a reference pulp. Furthermore, films were prepared from the fibrillated material for characterization and tensile testing. It was observed that substantially improved mechanical properties were attained as a result of the grinding process, thus signifying nanofibrillation. Both SIL treated and bleached SIL treated pulps were fibrillated into nanofibers with fiber diameters below 15 nm thus forming networks of hydrophilic nature with an intact crystalline structure. Notably, it was found that the SIL pulp could be fibrillated more efficiently than traditional pulp since nanofibers could be produced with more than 30% less energy when compared to the reference pulp. Additionally, bleaching reduced the energy demand by further 16%. The study demonstrated that this switchable ionic liquid treatment has considerable potential in the commercial production of nanofibers due to the increased efficiency in fibrillation.

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Series: Cellulose
ISSN: 0969-0239
ISSN-E: 1572-882X
ISSN-L: 0969-0239
Volume: 24
Issue: 8
Pages: 3265 - 3279
DOI: 10.1007/s10570-017-1354-2
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 221 Nanotechnology
215 Chemical engineering
216 Materials engineering
Funding: The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support under Bio4Energy—a strategic research environment appointed by the Swedish government, Wallenberg Wood Science Center (WWSC) and Nordic Forest research (SNS) WoodPro.
Dataset Reference: Supplementary material:
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.