We're going to conduct a study to make corn husk fiber into a paper. Soda Ash is always used to extract the fibers from the husks, First question is there any chemical we can use aside from soda ash to extract fibers? Second, we want the fibers to paper white is there a chemical that could turn the yellow-greenish fiber into white? I don't have the means to do the experiment just yet so it would be helpful to have answers.

  • $\begingroup$ Instead of soda ash, you may use pure soda, namely sodium carbonate Na2CO3 . Soda ash contains some pure sodium carbonate. But it contains also many other substances, like phosphates, silica, etc. which do not have too much effect for extracting the fibers. Now to turn the colored fiber into white, I am not a specialist, but I would use first bleach (solution of sodium hypochlorite). Also I know that sodium chlorite $\ce{NaClO2}$ is used in the paper industry to turn the crude brownish cellulose fibers from wood into white. Please note that this is chlorite, not chloride, and not chlorate. $\endgroup$
    – Maurice
    Sep 26 '20 at 17:24
  • $\begingroup$ Suggestion: avoid bleaching by using the paper in its natural color. It would be stronger, and might be better suited for bags, insulation backing and boxes. $\endgroup$ Sep 27 '20 at 3:27