The effects of soluble electrolytes and certain polyelectrolytes on fibre swelling, beating rate, fibre flocculation, drainage and strength properties are discussed. Pulp fibres sorb electrolytes because of various acidic groups naturally present in hemicelluloses and lignin residues, also because of various oxidation reactions. Ion exchange reactions occur between the acidic groups and electrolytes on wood pulps, but purified pulps are much less acidic and sorb salts by means of surface reactions that are less well characterised. Dilute alkalis increase fibre swelling, beating rate and strength properties of pulps. The effects of cations vary with valency and concentration. Generally, rate of beating and strength properties are enhanced slightly by monovalent cations, retarded and reduced markedly by trivalent and quadrivalent cations, unaffected by divalent cations. Ion antagonism is observed. Electrolytes change the electrokinetic potential of fibres as expected and drainage rate of the pulp is a maximum at the isoelectric point, unless hydrous precipitates have formed by hydrolysis of the salt. The effects of surface-active agents are more complex.
Low molecular weight electrolytes have discernible effects on fibre flocculation at low consistencies (0.01-0.05 per cent) and low rates of shear, but these effects are negligible at papermaking consistencies, unless hydrolysis of the salt occurs. The effects of polyelectrolytes are pronounced under papermaking conditions and may possibly be explained by La Mer’s theory of polymer flocculation.
The factors that influence retention of wet strength polymers by fibres are discussed. The rate of retention appears to be governed by a diffusional transport process rather than a molecular segment adsorption step.
The mechanism of development of wet strength apparently involves partial diffusion of the resin into the fibrous structure followed by curing of the resin, which subsequently restricts swelling of the bond region in water. Little evidence exists for the formation of chemical bonds between pulp fibres and the wet strength polymer. Very pure pulps may be an exception.
Soluble gases become insoluble during papermaking and have profound effects upon stock preparation, drainage and formation on the machine and final sheet properties. Foam is discussed as a competition between two rate processes-the rate of introduction of gases and the rate of foam collapse. The rate of foam collapse may be increased substantially by anti-foams. A theory of anti-foam action is discussed.