Low consistency refining of mechanical pulp : process conditions and energy efficiency

Sammanfattning: The thesis is focussed on low consistency (LC) refining of mechanical pulp. Theresearch included evaluations of energy efficiency, development of pulpproperties, the influence of fibre concentration on LC refining and effects of rotorposition in a two-zoned LC refiner.Trials were made in mill scale in a modern TMP line equipped with an MSDImpressafiner for chip pre-treatment, double disc (DD) first stage refining and aprototype 72-inch TwinFlo LC refiner in the second stage. Tensile index increasedby 8 Nm/g and fibre length was reduced by 10 % in LC refining at 140 kWh/adtgross specific refining energy and specific edge load 1.0 J/m. Specific lightscattering coefficient did not develop significantly over the LC refiner.The above mentioned TMP line was compared with a two stage single disc highconsistency Twin 60 refiner line. The purpose was to evaluate specific energyconsumption and pulp properties. The two different process solutions were testedin mill scale, running similar Norway spruce wood supply. At the same tensileindex and freeness, the specific energy consumption was 400 kWh/adt lower in theDD-LC concept compared with the SD-SD system. Pulp characteristics of the tworefining concepts were compared at tensile index 47 Nm/g. Fibre length was lowerafter DD-LC refining than after SD-SD refining. Specific light scattering coefficientwas higher and shive content much lower for DD-LC pulp.The effects of sulphite chip pre-treatment on second stage LC refining were alsoevaluated. No apparent differences in fibre properties after LC refining werenoticed between treated and untreated pulps. Sulphite chip pre-treatment iniiicombination with LC refining in second stage, yielded a pulp without screeningand reject refining with tensile index and shives content that were similar to nonpre-treated final pulp after screening and reject refining.A pilot scale study was performed to investigate the influence of fibreconcentration on pulp properties in LC refining of mechanical pulps. MarketCTMP was utilised in all trials and fibre concentrations were controlled by meansof adjustments of the pulp consistency and by screen fractionation of the pulp. Inaddition, various refiner parameters were studied, such as no-load, gap and baredge length. Pulp with the highest fibre concentration supported a larger refinergap than pulp with low fibre concentration at a given gross power input. Fibreshortening was lower and tensile index increase was higher for long fibre enrichedpulp. The results from this study support the interesting concept of combiningmain line LC refining and screening, where screen reject is recycled to the LCrefiner inlet.It has been observed that the rotor in two-zoned refiners is not always centred,even though pulp flow rate is equal in both refining zones. This leads to unequalplate gaps, which renders unevenly refined pulp. Trials were performed in millscale, using the 72-inch TwinFlo, to investigate differences in pulp properties androtor positions by means of altering the pressure difference between the refiningzones. In order to produce homogenous pulp, it was found that uneven plate gapscan be compensated for in LC refiners with dual refining zones. Results from thedifferent flow rate adjustments indicated that the control setting with similar plategap gave the most homogenous pulp.