The present work introduces, for the first time worldwide, molasses as an additive in papermaking. The resulting paper composites exhibit greater breaking length and remarkably higher water uptake (WRV) in comparison to paper, which did not involve molasses as an additive. Previous studies, by the author and others, have shown that incorporating the cell wall microstructure of cellulose fibers with sucrose greatly enhanced the breaking length and water uptake of paper. Also, it is well established in the literature that using gums (including starch) as additives in papermaking enhances the strength of paper. Molasses contains both sucrose and gums (including starch). Molasses is a byproduct of sugar industry, which is cheaper than sucrose; and a major part of sucrose lost in sugar industry resides in molasses. Therefore, molasses was chosen as a new additive in this work. The effect of mercerization of pulp fibers before loading them with molasses is, also, studied in this work; and mercerization is shown to greatly enhance the positive effects produced by loading with molasses. Paper composites produced in this work find their use as specialty absorbent paper. The present work shows that the benefits obtained by using molasses are close to the benefits obtained in the case of using the more expensive additive sucrose.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.