Main Article Content
The main goal of this study was to characterize chemically and morphologically elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum), and evaluate the potential of its fibers for production of printing and writing paper grade pulp. The elephant grass was chemically and morphologically characterized and cooked by the soda process to two different degrees of delignification (kappa 17.5 and 10.6). The resulting pulps were fully bleached by the O-D*-(EP)-D sequence and characterized for their beatability, drainability and physical-mechanical properties. The lignin content (20.2%) was low, indicating that this grass should be easier to pulp. The morphological analyses of the elephant grass indicated a short fiber material, similar to hardwoods. The soda pulp from elephant grass cooked to kappa number 17.5 presented higher screened yield than 10.6 kappa pulp, with alkali demands of 15.0% and 20.0%, respectively. The total active chlorine required by the 17.5 and 10.6 kappa pulps, were 42.1 and 35.1 kg/odt pulp, respectively, to achieve an ISO brightness of approximately 90.0%. The bleached soda pulps cooked to 17.5 and 10.6 kappa number showed similar refinability and resistance to drainage, but the tensile and burst index were highest for the 17.5 kappa pulp at beating energy consumptions in the range of 0-6 Wh. It was concluded that both 10.6 and 17.5 kappa pulps from elephant grass are suitable for the production of printing and writing paper grade pulps, but the highest kappa 17.5 pulp is more economically attractive given its highest pulping yield, despite the significantly increased of chemical demand for bleaching A produção de papel para impressão e escrita Grau de celulose a partir de capim-elefante.