Canadian market pulps are being challenged by competition from Scandinavia, Russia, the United States, and South America, in the two largest tissue markets: China and the United States. To maintain and improve the market share of Canadian pulps in current applications, as well as promote their further integration into new applications/markets, FPInnovations has launched a research project to identify the unique features and advantages of Canadian market pulps and facilitate further expansion of Canadian market pulps into the tissue markets.
Important objectives of this project have included evaluation of the role of the pulp fibres in the production and the final performance of tissue products to create value for tissue makers; determination of tissue sheet structural parameters for softness, bulk, strength, and absorption; identification of pulp and/or fibre characteristics required to produce high-quality products, as well as development of pulp furnishes for the next generation of products through tailored formulations. The studies are also looking into the development of pulp production and/or treatment methods and furnish optimization strategies to maximize the use and quality of Canadian market pulps in tissue making.
One study in this project has focused on the impact of juvenile NBSK fibres on tissue properties. Compared to mature wood fibres, juvenile wood fibres typically have lower fibre coarseness and thinner fibre wall thickness, but shorter fibre length. Trials were conducted recently on FPInnovations’ pilot machine to evaluate the tissue-making potential of pulps containing a larger percentage of juvenile NBSK fibres. These trials demonstrated that pulps with higher amounts of juvenile NBSK fibres tended to produce tissue base sheets with a higher softness, but with a lower tensile strength at a given bulk. This is consistent with the results obtained in earlier tissue pilot trials, i.e., that finer and thinner-walled NBSK fibres produce tissue with higher softness.
Work is continuing to identify opportunities for diversified, value-added NBSK pulps tailored for tissue markets with different quality requirements. For more information, please contact Ho Fan Jang.