When one thinks about pulp, naturally the first product related to this raw material is paper. But, the application of pulp goes far beyond paper. Several segments use pulp as raw material, and those who work with Foreign Trade need to understand its full potential and employability in the textile industry, pharmaceutical industry, food industry, civil construction, petrochemicals...
Discovered in 1838 by the French chemist Anselme Payen, who determined its chemical formula, cellulose is the main structural cell mass of plants.
Made up of glucose monomers linked together, cellulose is an important raw material for industries, which extract it from various vegetables, such as eucalyptus, pine, cotton, bamboo, among others.
Industrially, it is processed for the production of paper and fibers, and there its application gains strength.
Currently, 100% of Brazil's pulp and paper production uses raw material from reforestation areas, mainly eucalyptus and pine and the rest from other sources, including recycled ones.
In a simplified way, for its manufacturing process, the first step is to peel and chop the wood into chips (chips). The second step is to cook it with chemical products, thus separating the cellulose from the lignin and other vegetable components.
Cellulose serves as raw material for several types of paper, disposable diapers, tissues, toilet paper, absorbents. But as we stated right at the beginning, the application of pulp is very wide.
In the food industry, the application of cellulose ranges from the production of cellulose casings for making sausages (sausages, sausages, etc.) to its use as emulsifiers, thickeners and stabilizers that enter in the composition of foods such as ice cream, hamburgers, cheeses, among others.
Because it is a substance that is not digested by humans(click and understand), cellulose is applied in dietetic foods, since it provides a lot of volume or mass in foods, without having a caloric value.
It is also used as a defibrillator supplement.
The addition of cellulose to food allows an increase in volume and fiber content without a great impact on taste.
Even though it is not possible to metabolize cellulose, the intake of these fibers is important for the daily diet of the human being. Cellulose serves as a medium for the development of beneficial bacteria and also helps the proper functioning of the intestine and excretion of feces, stimulating the production of saliva and gastric juice.
As cellulose binds and blends easily with water, it is often added to increase the fiber content of beverages and other liquid items.
In the textile industry, cellulose acetate - which has been widely used in the manufacture of photographic films - is used in the manufacture of fabrics for clothing, linings, carpets, umbrellas and other products.
In civil construction, cellulose is also used to make panels used for room partitions, known as drywall.
Recently, researchers from Purdue University, in the United States, have discovered that pulp can make concrete even more resistant:. According to the research, cellulose nanocrystals help hydrate the concrete after mixing, which prevents it from getting pores and defects that impair resistance and durability. Scientists have shown that, with the particles, the concrete's tensile strength increases by 30%.(Source)
In the pharmaceutical industry cellulose is used for coating tablets and capsules for medicines. The nanoparticles obtained from cellulose also serve as carriers for controlled drug release.
A highlight of the use of cellulose in medicine is in the manufacture of intelligent dressings or artificial skins that are used in wound and burn healing, accelerating the healing process.
In the cosmetics industry, two cellulose derivatives, Hydroxyethyl cellulose and Carboxymethyl cellulose, are used to make gel that serves as a vehicle for dermatological actives and in dental formulations such as dental gel and oral solutions.
As you have already noticed, cellulose is very present in our daily lives. But there are even more sectors and products that use pulp as raw material: