, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 3941–3950 | Cite as

New insights into the mechanisms behind the strengthening of lignocellulosic fibrous networks with polyamines

  • Andrew MaraisEmail author
  • Mikael S. Magnusson
  • Thomas Joffre
  • Erik L. G. Wernersson
  • Lars Wågberg
Original Paper


Polyelectrolytes have been used extensively in the papermaking industry for various purposes. Although recent studies have shown that polyamines can be efficient dry-strength additives, the mechanism governing the strength enhancement of paper materials following the adsorption of polyamines onto pulp fibres is still not well understood. In this study, the effect of the adsorption of polyallylamine hydrochloride (PAH) onto the surface of unbleached kraft pulp fibres was investigated on both the fibre and the network scale. Isolated fibre crosses were mechanically tested to evaluate the impact of the chemical additive on the interfibre joint strength on the microscopic scale and the effect was compared with that previously observed on the paper sheet scale. X-ray microtomography was used to understand structural changes in the fibrous network following the adsorption of a polyamine such as PAH. Using image analysis methods, it was possible to determine the number of interfibre contacts (or joints) per unit length of fibre as well as the average interfibre joint contact area. The results showed that the median interfibre joint strength increased by 18 % upon adsorption of PAH. This can be achieved both by a larger molecular contact area in the contact zones and by a stronger molecular adhesion. The addition of the polymer also increased the number of efficient interfibre contacts per sheet volume. This combination of effects is the reason why polyamines such as PAH can increase the dry tensile strength of paper materials.


Pulp fibres Polyallylamine hydrochloride Interfibre joint strength X-ray microtomography Interfibre contacts 



The authors acknowledge the financial support provided by BiMaC Innovation, a Vinn Excellence Centre at KTH, and the Swedish Research Council (Project Grant 2007-5380). Lars Wågberg also acknowledges the Wallenberg Wood Science Centre for financing.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Marais
    • 1
    • 6
    Email author
  • Mikael S. Magnusson
    • 2
    • 6
  • Thomas Joffre
    • 3
  • Erik L. G. Wernersson
    • 4
  • Lars Wågberg
    • 1
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Division of Fibre Technology, School of Chemical Science and EngineeringKTH Royal Institute of Technology, StockholmStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of Solid Mechanics, School of Engineering SciencesKTH Royal Institute of Technology, StockholmStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Ångström LaboratoryUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  4. 4.Centre for Image AnalysisSwedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)UppsalaSweden
  5. 5.The Wallenberg Wood Science Centre, School of Chemical Science and EngineeringKTH Royal Institute of Technology, StockholmStockholmSweden
  6. 6.VINN Excellence Centre BiMaC InnovationStockholmSweden

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