Mineral/Microfibrillated cellulose composite materials:

Mineral MFC Composites: Engineered minerals and product forms

Mineral/Microfibrillated cellulose composite materials:

Mineral/Microfibrillated cellulose composite materials: Engineered minerals and product forms

FiberLean Technologies Ltd

EUROMAT – 04th September 2019

David Skuse, Tom Larson, Michel Schenker, Mark Windebank, Yun Jin and Sean Ireland

Presented by:

Tom Larson
Technology Implementation Manager


  • Introduction
    • Mineral/ microfibrillated cellulose composite materials
    • Fibrils and fibres
    • Minerals
  • Recycled fibre sources
  • Applications
  • Product form
  • Conclusions


Mineral/Microfibrillated cellulose composite materials

  • MFC: High aspect ratio / surface area utility for increased hydrogen bonding in fibre-based structures, viscosification, reinforcement…
  • Cost effective grinding-based method to produce mineral/microfibrillated cellulose composite materials from minerals and cellulose
  • Cellulose fibres are co-processed with mineral particles. The mineral particles act as micro-grinding media, thus, reducing the energy requirement
  • Process accomplished using robust, industrially proven grinding equipment
  • Scalable
  • Commercialised as FiberLean MFC®
  • 10,000 dry metric tonnes pa of fibril capacity (40,000 dry metric tonnes of mineral/ MFC composite) operational across three continents. Further capacity under construction
  • FDA FCN for food contact paperboard
  • Processing and handling of mineral/ MFC composites are dominated by the high viscosity of MFC
    Mineral Microfibrillated cellulose composite

    Photograph (a) and micrograph (b) of mineral/ MFC composite showing the high viscosity and fibrillar structure

    • Arises from presence of high surface area hydrophilic fibrils.
    • Typical fibre solids is ~ 1-2%

Fibrils and fibres

  • Structure performance relationships

Fibrils and fibres: structure performance relationships


  • Structure performance relationships

Minerals: structure performance relationships

  • There is a variety of sources.

Mineral sources

  • Each have their own unique properties and attributes that are utilized in a broad spectrum of applications…
  • Within each source the forms can vary naturally and be engineered
    • e.g. Calcium carbonate:
      • Ground and precipitated forms:
        • High level of control over crystal morphology and dimensions

Calcium carbonate

  • Kaolin: Can be engineered for very high shape factor
Kaolin Mineral/Microfibrillated cellulose composite

Mineral/fibril composites

  • There are a multitude of options available to the formulator…

Mineral/Microfibrillated cellulose composite

  • The selection of fibre and mineral type, as well as the ratio between them, is tailored for each application

Recycled Fibres

Mineral/ MFC composites prepared from mixed office waste and OCC

Tensile properties at ~ equivalent to/ better than virgin NBSK controls

Mineral/microfibrillated cellulose composite with recycled pulp


Mixed office waste feed

Mixed office waste feed

0% OCC/50% kaolin mineral/microfibrillated cellulose composite

50% OCC/50% kaolin mineral/MFC composite (right) and control with NBSK


Viscosity Modification

  • 50% NBSK/ 50% mineral/ MFC compositesMineral/microfibrillated cellulose composite applications: Viscosity Modification
  • Can control viscosity with choice of mineral shape factor.
  • Low shape factor for high solids application
  • High shape factor for high viscosity


Mineral/Microfibrillated cellulose composite applications: Barrier


50% NBSK/ 50% graphite mineral/ MFC composite slurry and sheet 50% NBSK/ 50% graphite mineral/ MFC composite slurry and sheet 20% NBSK/ 80% mineral/ microfibrillated cellulose composite printed electronic substrate
50% NBSK/ 50% graphite mineral/ MFC composite slurry and sheet 20% NBSK/ 80% mineral/ MFC composite printed electronic substrate

Product forms

  • SlurryAvailable supply via satellite plant built on-siteProduct forms
    • Low solids: ~2% MFC fibre solids
    • For trials: delivered in IBC tanks or road tanker
  • Press cakeAvailable for trials, delivered in IBC bags
    • Medium solids: between ~10-15% MFC fibre solids
  • PelletsFuture supply via merchant plant (developmental)
    • High solids: ~37.5% MFC fibre solids (75% total solids)
  • Solids content depends on FiberLean® MFC product supplied


Mineral/microfibrillated cellulose composite: Product forms Product forms Product forms

Trials and Press Cake re-dispersion

Bottles (lab trials)
10 litre (2.65 US Gallon) = 200 g (~8 oz) dry MFC
Barrels (pilot trials)
220 litre (60 US Gallon) = 4.4 kg (~10 lb) dry MFC
IBC Tanks (pilot & full scale trials)
1000 litre (265 US Gallon) = 20 kg (~44 lb) dry MFC
Trucks/ ISO tanks (full scale trials)
25 meter3 (6600 US Gallon) = 500 kg (~1100 lb) dry MFC
IBC Bags (full scale trials)
Bag weight ~ 1000 kg (~2200 lb) = 150 kg (~330 lb) dry MFC
Mineral/microfibrillated cellulose composite make-down unit
Largest shipments to date supplied for trials:
80 Transitanks = 1600 kg (~3500 lb) dry MFC
7 Trucks = 3500 kg (~7700 lb) dry MFC
Largest shipments to date supplied for trials:
292 bags = ~44 tonnes (~48 short tons) of dry MFC
Re-dispersion from Press Cake to Slurry:

  • Rapid Installation/Pack-up
  • Throughput
  • Quality
  • Safety


  • Mineral/ MFC composites are produced using a cost-effective, robust process and have proven full-scale availability.
  • Mineral/ MFC composites can be produced using a wide range of minerals and pulps.
  • Variations in the selection of pulp and mineral allow the formulator to select in favour of a wide range of properties.
  • Recycled pulp streams can be used.
  • We believe that mineral/ MFC composites are an important additive for a wide range of applications.
  • These mineral/ MFC composite materials have been commercialised as FiberLean MFC®.
Mineral/MFC composites Mineral/MFC composites Mineral/MFC composites Mineral/MFC composites