Optimization of pulp production from groundnut shells using chemical pulping at low temperatures

P. Musekiwa, L. B. Moyo, T. A. Mamvura, G. Danha, G. S. Simate, N. Hlabangana

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Paper production through chemical pulping has been identified as one of the ideal avenues of exploring the uses of groundnut shells as they are rich in cellulose. Ideally, the cellulose can be used to synthesize fibres that can be converted into useful paper products. In this study, chemical pulping was the chosen process for liberating the fibres as it is effective in dissolving lignin embedded within the cellulose. In addition, the fibres produced have superior physical properties compared to mechanical pulping. It is imperative that optimal conditions are identified for the chemical treatment process, in order to ensure that energy and chemical consumption are minimized. All these measures are aimed at reducing production costs and make chemical pulping economically viable, as compared to the mechanical pulping process which is less costly. Response surface methodology (RSM) was used in this study to evaluate the effect of three independent variables (cooking time, temperature, and sulphidity) on pulp yield and kappa number. These parameters are critical in the chemical pulping process and the optimal conditions obtained were 180 min, 100C and 23.6 wt.%, respectively. At the optimal conditions, the pulp yield was 64.39wt% with a kappa number of 19.5. The results showed that all parameters investigated, had a statistically significant effect on the production of pulp. The increased cooking time was efficient in ensuring complete impregnation of the groundnut shells with chemicals for pulping and ensuring that the dissolution of lignin is not selective and does not result in dead spots inherently compromising the quality of the pulp. On the other hand, lower temperatures limited the peeling effect due to hydrolysis of carbohydrates which increased pulp yield due to a higher cellulose retention. Consequently, this contributed towards obtaining pulp that is well cooked, has a low bleach consumption and a higher quality
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere04184
Number of pages8
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General
  • General Chemical Engineering


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