Pitch Analysis

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    Get the most out of pitch analysis

    Wood resins are the major building blocks for pitch deposits, but other materials attach to them during the pulping process. Identifying components is your first step toward managing pitch more accurately and cost-efficiently. These could include:

    • Defoamers
    • Hydraulic fluids
    • Lubricating oils
    • Talc
    • Metals

    When it comes to analyzing pitch components, you’ve got two choices: in a lab or in the field.

    Lab analysis is the most precise method, but you have to wait for results. A routine deposit analysis includes:

    • Percentage of toluene/ethanol extractive (% extractable organic)
    • Attenuated total reflectance analysis (direct infrared spectroscopy)
    • Pitch characterizations
    • Silicone
    • Scanning electronic microscope (SEM) imaging
    • Stereographic pictures

    Common tests you might request:

    • Ash percentage
    • Brightness metals
    • Dichloromethane (DCM) extractives
    • Toluene/ethanol extractives
    • Acetone extractives
    • Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) analysis
    • Silicone

    When comparing test results, always take solvents into consideration. Each test can use a different one to analyze the same sample, and that can lead to different results. For example, the toluene/ethanol test will extract more than just pitch from a sample, while DCM is better at identifying just the pitch components.

    It’s also important that you know how to read test results. They can be tricky. If you misinterpret the data, you might miss an opportunity to address a pitch issue in the most efficient way.

    Field analysis options are convenient and relatively easy to perform, but keep in mind that they’re far more subjective than lab analysis.

    • Visual inspection of process equipment
    • KitchenAid®* shear test
    • Plates or coupons
    • Hemocytometry
    • Buckman hydrophobe meter


    *KitchenAid is a registered trademark of Whirlpool Industries, Inc.

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