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J Chromatogr B Biomed Sci Appl. 2000 Jun 23;743(1-2):127-35.

Investigation of aqueous biphasic systems for the separation of lignins from cellulose in the paper pulping process.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa 35487, USA.


In efforts to apply a polymer-based aqueous biphasic system (ABS) extraction to the paper pulping process, the study of the distribution of various lignin and cellulosic fractions in ABS and the effects of temperature on system composition and solute partitioning have been investigated. The partitioning of three lignin species (Indulin AT, Indulin C, and Reax 85A) have been studied in ABS prepared from stock solutions of 40% (w/w) poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)-2000 and increasing concentrations of K2CO3, (NH4)2SO4, and NaOH. The partitioning of these lignins is affected by the free energy of hydration of the salt forming the ABS, the tie line length, and the dissociation of the sulfonic acid and hydroxyl groups of the distributed solutes. The partitioning of fibrous cellulose and diethylaminoethyl cellulose have been studied in 40% (w/w) PEG-2000-(NH4)2SO4 ABS. The hydrophilic nature of these species is important in terms of their phase preference when designing a polymer-based aqueous biphasic extraction process for use in a paper pulping process. Both cellulosic samples do not dissolve, but rather report to the salt-rich phase of an ABS. In both chemical pulping and Organosolv pulping, temperatures in excess of 120 degrees C are needed to solubilize the lignin from the cellulose fraction of wood. To study the effects of temperature on the phase diagram and solute partitioning, phthalic acid and NH499TcO4 (as system probes) have been partitioned in 40% (w/w) PEG-2000-(NH4)2SO4 ABS at known tie line lengths as a function of temperature. Temperature does not appear to affect the partitioning results beyond the expected increase in phase divergence as temperature is increased. The PEG-2000 polymer itself appears to be stable to chemical pulping conditions.

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