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    Here we used dilute oxalic acid to pretreat a kraft bleached Eucalyptus pulp (BEP) fibers to facilitate mechanical fibrillation in producing cellulose nanofibrils using disk milling with substantial mechanical energy savings. We successfully applied a reaction kinetics based combined hydrolysis factor (CHFx) as a severity factor to quantitatively control xylan dissolution and BEP fibril deploymerization. More importantly, we were able to accurately predict the degree of polymerization (DP) of disk-milled fibrils using CHFx and milling time or milling energy consumption. Experimentally determined ratio of fibril DP and number mean fibril height (diameter d), DP:d, an aspect ratio measurer, were independent of the processing conditions. Therefore, we hypothesize that cellulose have a longitudinal hierarchical structure as in the lateral direction. Acid hydrolysis and milling did not substantially cut the “natural” chain length of cellulose fibrils. This cellulose longitudinal hierarchical model provides support for using weak acid hydrolysis in the production of cellulose nanofibrils with substantially reduced energy input without negatively affecting fibril mechanical strength.

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    Qin, Yanlin; Qiu, Xueqing; Zhu, J.Y. 2016. Understanding longitudinal wood fiber ultra-structure for producing cellulose nanofibrils using disk milling with diluted acid prehydrolysis. Scientific Reports. 6, 35602. pp. 1-12.


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    cellulose nanomaterials, disk milling/grinding, fibril morphology, cell wall structure, depolymerization, acid hydrolysis

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