• Acid hydrolysis rate was higher in once-dried Kraft pulp than in never-dried samples.
  • Once-dried Kraft pulp samples had higher LODP values compared never-dried samples.
  • PHK pulp had a lower LODP than sulphite pulp.
  • Laundering of cotton cellulose textiles does not affect the LODP of the fibres.


The behaviour of different cellulosic fibres during acid hydrolysis has been investigated and the levelling-off degree of polymerisation (LODP) has been determined. The study included a bleached kraft pulp (both never-dried and once-dried) and two dissolving pulps (once-dried). Additionally, cotton cellulose from new cotton sheets and sheets discarded after long-time use was studied. Experimental results from the investigation, together with results found in literature, imply that ultrastructural differences between different fibres affect their susceptibility towards acid hydrolysis. Drying of a bleached kraft pulp was found to enhance the rate of acid hydrolysis and also result in a decrease in LODP. This implies that the susceptibility of cellulosic fibres towards acid hydrolysis is affected by drying-induced stresses in the cellulose chains. In cotton cellulose, it was found that use and laundering gave a substantial loss in the degree of polymerisation (DP), but that the LODP was only marginally affected.