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High-tech fibre analysis Centres of Excellence program continues


September 1, 2001
By Pulp & Paper Canada

STOCKHOLM, Sweden — The Institute for Surface Chemistry (YKI) has cooperated with the Swedish Pulp and Paper Research Institute (STFI) and the Swedish National Testing and Research Institute (SP) in …

STOCKHOLM, Sweden — The Institute for Surface Chemistry (YKI) has cooperated with the Swedish Pulp and Paper Research Institute (STFI) and the Swedish National Testing and Research Institute (SP) in a project concerning the surface analysis of natural fibres. In an issue of YKI News (1/2001), an article describes how the aim of the work is to evaluate the potential of using ToFSIMS (time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry), ESCA (electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis) and AFM (atomic force microscopy) in combination for the characterization of wood fibre surfaces. The experience is that these three techniques are complementary and the project results demonstrate the potential of combining the techniques to obtain new information about the chemistry and morphology of natural fibre surfaces. The fibres studied were from spruce kraft pulp with high (85) and low (20) kappa numbers.

TOFSIMS: This technique provides detailed chemical information about the outermost surface layers of the fibres (analysis depth of 1-2nm). The output is essentially high-resolution mass spectra but ion distribution images can also be acquired.

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ESCA: The chemical composition of the fibre is obtained (analysis depth of about 10 nm). The technique provides quantitative data on both the elemental composition and, for the type of sample in this project, the amounts of carbons in different functional groups with oxygen.

AFM: This measures geography via interaction between a sharp pointed tip and sample. It gives information of the surface structure from topographical images and can provide information about the heterogeneity from phase imaging. The topographical images obtained from AFM measurement show clear differences between the spruce kraft pulp fibres with different kappa numbers. The high-kappa pulp shows a granular surface structure and bundles of microfibrils, while the low-kappa pulp shows no granules, but separate microfibrils.

Centres of Excellence program continues

OTTAWA, ON — Two federal Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCEs) will receive additional funding for the next four years, representing a total investment of CDN$29.2 million. One of the Networks receiving the funding is the Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) NCE. It is undertaking an ambitious total management protocol to maintain the physical, biological, ecological and economic dimensions of Canada’s boreal forest. “We are a forest nation. This precious resource is critical to moderating our climate and providing clean air and water. And forestry accounts for more then $8 billion a year in Canadian wages,” according to SFM Scientific Director Vic Adamowicz, University of Alberta. “Network renewal mans that we can continue to expand our public outreach and First Nations partnerships.” SFM benefits from the collaborative efforts of 440 researchers and other qualified personnel. After seven years of funding, networks can apply for renewal. The amount announced is for four years. The networks are eligible for three more years of funding, subject to a mid-term review.


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