Ambient particulate matter less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5
) can substantially degrade the performance of cars by clogging the air intake filters. The application of nanofibers in air filter paper can achieve dramatic improvement of filtration efficiency with low resistance to air flow. Cellulose nanofibers have gained increasing attention because of their biodegradability and renewability. In this work, the cellulose nanofiber was prepared by Lyocell fiber nanofibrillation via a PFI-type refiner, and the influence of applying a cellulose nanofiber on filter paper was investigated. It was found that the cellulose nanofibers obtained under 1.00 N/mm and 40,000 revolutions were mainly macrofibrils of Lyocell fiber with average fiber diameter of 0.8 µm. For the filter papers with a different nanofiber fraction, both the pressure drop and fractional efficiency increased with the higher fraction of nanofibers. The results of the figure of merit demonstrated that for particles larger than 0.05 µm, the figure of merit increased substantially with a 5% nanofiber, but decreased when the nanofiber fraction reached 10% and higher. It was concluded that the optimal fraction of the cellulose nanofiber against PM2.5
was 5%. The results of the figure of merit were related to the inhomogeneous distribution of nanofibers in the fibrous structure. The discrepancy of the theoretical and measured pressure drop showed that a higher nanofiber fraction led to a higher degree of fiber inhomogeneity.
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