AbstractThe objective of this study was to determine the processing conditions for obtaining improved pulp properties from the kraft pulping process with an alkali pre-extraction stage. Before the kraft pulping, a pre-extraction of hemicelluloses from mixed hardwood chips was performed with two different alkali concentrations (3% and 12% as Na2O) at 150 °C for 90 minutes. The kraft pulping of the pre-extracted chips was then conducted in two ways: with either the H-factor alone controlled or with both the H-factor and the alkali charge controlled. When the chips were pre-extracted with the 3% alkali charge and with the kraft pulping controlled to an H-factor of 500, the yield and properties of the pulp were higher than those of the reference kraft pulp. The 12% alkali pre-extraction and kraft pulping resulted in a low yield of screened pulp. However, when the alkali charge and the H-factor were adjusted together, the pulp yield remained constant and the pulp properties improved in comparison to the reference pulp for both the 3 and 12% cases.