D. Skuse, Y. Jin, S. Ireland
FiberLean Technologies Limited,
Keywords: microfibrillated cellulose, MFC, nanofibrillated cellulose, NFC
Summary:When pulp and minerals are co-processed in aqueous suspension, the mineral acts as a grinding aid allowing cost effective production of fibrils. Furthermore, this processing uses robust, industrial milling equipment. Mineral/ microfibrillated cellulose composite materials produced in this manner have been commercialised under the tradename, FiberLean® MFC and there are 45 000 dry tonnes of composite production capacity in operation. These mineral/ microfibrillated cellulose products have been cleared by the FDA for use as a dry and wet strength agent in coated and uncoated food contact paper and paperboard applications. We have previously reported that use of these mineral/ microfibrillated cellulose composite materials in fibre-based applications allows generally improved wet and dry mechanical properties with concomitant opportunities for cost savings, property improvements or grade developments. Here we report recent developments focussed on the use of a range of engineered minerals. The use of engineered minerals allows the creation of a range of multi-functional additives which allow the formulator to combine the attributes of microfibrillated cellulose with the wide range of properties that can be engineered by the selection of minerals having varying size, shape, particle size distribution, shape factor, colour, and chemistry.