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P. Krochak, K. Athley, E. Björk and B. Norman. Achieving maximum filler retention by improving chemical and mechanical retention. In Advances in Pulp and Paper Research, Cambridge 2013, Trans. of the XVth Fund. Res. Symp. Cambridge, 2013, (S.J. I’Anson, ed.), pp 227–259, FRC, Manchester, 2018.


Conditions for maximizing chemical and mechanical filler retention were studied through a combination of laboratory, semi-pilot and pilot scale experiments. In the first part of this work, we investigated the impact of particle size on the mechanical retention of particles in a fibre network using a modified laboratory hand sheet former. Quartz particles of well-de ned and narrow-size fractions were used to simulate pre-flocculated filler of different sizes. Five different size fractions were studied. The mechanical retention was found to increase linearly with both web fibre grammage for each quartz fraction and with particle size. These results were then validated through pilot- scale production trials where different filler floc sizes were created through pre-flocculation techniques. In the second part of this work, we studied the stability of pre-flocculated filler flocs through a set of semi-pilot scale ow loop trials. Trials were performed by pre-flocculating filler (PCC) with flocculating agents continuously and exposing the filler flocs to controlled levels of hydrodynamic shear created by ow through a partially closed gate valve. Changes in filler floc size were monitored continuously using Focused Beam Reflectance Measurements (FBRM). A clear reduction in the particle size was observed as the pressure drop increased. A major part of the floc degradation occurred at relatively low shear conditions while under the highest shear conditions, the pre-flocculated PCC floc size was reduced close to the unflocculated state. In the third part of this work, we investigated the effect of different forms of process related shear on retention polymer stability and its effect on chemical retention. A set of semi-pilot scale ow loop trials were performed to investigate the effect of elongational shear-strain and shear due to velocity differences created inside and outside a dosage nozzle respectively. We show that the effect of elongational strain created inside the dosage nozzle leads to significant retention polymer degradation while shear created outside the dosage nozzle due to velocity gradients has a smaller effect on polymer degradation. We investigate these results with a series of pilot scale production trials and show that high shear conditions created inside the dosage nozzle leads to significant reductions in chemical filler retention. However, pilot trials indicate that shear created outside the dosage nozzle can also have a significant effect on filler retention, although to a lesser extent.

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