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Tenhunen, T. M., Hakalahti, M., Kouko, J., Salminen, A., Härkäsalmi, T., Pere, J., Harlin, A., and Hänninen, T. (2016). "Method for forming pulp fibre yarns developed by a design-driven process," BioRes. 11(1), 2492-2503.

Abstract

A simple and inexpensive method for producing water-stable pulp fibre yarns using a deep eutectic mixture composed of choline chloride and urea (ChCl/urea) was developed in this work. Deep eutectic solvents (DESs) are eutectic mixtures consisting of two or more components that together have a lower melting point than the individual components. DESs have been previously studied with respect to cellulose dissolution, functionalisation, and pre-treatment. This new method uses a mixture of choline chloride and urea, which is used as a swelling and dispersing agent for the pulp fibres in the yarn-forming process. Although the pulp seemed to form a gel when dispersed in ChCl/urea, the ultrastructure of the pulp was not affected. To enable water stability, pulp fibres were crosslinked by esterification using polyacrylic acid. ChCl/urea could be easily recycled and reused by distillation. The novel process described in this study enables utilisation of pulp fibres in textile production without modification or dissolution and shortening of the textile value chain. An interdisciplinary approach was used, where potential applications were explored simultaneously with material development from process development to the early phase prototyping.
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