, 12:563 | Cite as

On the determination of crystallinity and cellulose content in plant fibres

  • Anders Thygesen
  • Jette Oddershede
  • Hans Lilholt
  • Anne Belinda Thomsen
  • Kenny Ståhl


A comparative study of cellulose crystallinity based on the sample crystallinity and the cellulose content in plant fibres was performed for samples of different origin. Strong acid hydrolysis was found superior to agricultural fibre analysis and comprehensive plant fibre analysis for a consistent determination of the cellulose content. Crystallinity determinations were based on X-ray powder diffraction methods using side-loaded samples in reflection (Bragg-Brentano) mode. Rietveld refinements based on the recently published crystal structure of cellulose Iβ followed by integration of the crystalline and amorphous (background) parts were performed. This was shown to be straightforward to use and in many ways advantageous to traditional crystallinity determinations using the Segal or the Ruland–Vonk methods. The determined cellulose crystallinities were 90–100 g/100 g cellulose in plant-based fibres and 60–70 g/100 g cellulose in wood based fibres. These findings are significant in relation to strong fibre composites and bio-ethanol production.


Cellulose Crystallinity Debye Plant fibres Rietveld X-ray 



High pressure liquid chromatography


Dry matter



This work was part of the project ‘High performance hemp fibres and improved fibre networks for composites’ supported by the Danish Research Agency of the Ministry of Science and of the project EFP Bioethanol part 2 J. nr. 1383/03–0002. Dr. Claus Felby is acknowledged as supervisor for Ph. D. student Anders Thygesen. Mr. Tomas Fernqvist and Mrs. Ingelis Larsen are acknowledged for technical assistance and Dr. Bo Madsen, Dr. Enikö Varga and Dr. Mette Hedegaard Thomsen are acknowledged for discussion and inspiration.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anders Thygesen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jette Oddershede
    • 3
  • Hans Lilholt
    • 1
  • Anne Belinda Thomsen
    • 4
  • Kenny Ståhl
    • 3
  1. 1.Materials Research DepartmentRisø National LaboratoryDK-4000RoskildeDenmark
  2. 2.Danish Centre for Forest, Landscape and PlanningThe Royal Veterinary and Agricultural UniversityTåstrupDenmark
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryTechnical University of DenmarkLyngbyDenmark
  4. 4.Biosystems DepartmentRisø National LaboratoryRoskildeDenmark

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