In integrated factories of pulp and paper, the bleaching control is made by kappa number and/or brightness. However, the product paper is evaluated and valued for its whiteness. The level of final brightness of pulp certainly affects the demand for optical brighteners in paper manufacturing, nevertheless, there is not a direct correlation between consumption of optical brightener and final brightness, being the method of bleaching pulp, especially from the final stage of bleaching, also important in relation to this demand. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the potential of using the parameter whiteness as a tool to control bleaching pulp, instead of the traditional brightness and evaluate the impacts of different methods of bleaching and the pulp final brightness level in action of optical brighteners, to improve their performance. It was observed that the whiteness and brightness of the pulp are highly correlated and that the control of the bleaching plant can be done by any one of these two parameters. It was also concluded that, considering current prices of bleaching reagents and of optical brighteners, it is better to bleach the pulp up to lower brightness values (e.g. 88% ISO) and use larger amounts of optical brighteners to brighten the mass until the whiteness of 130CIE. This conclusion is valid for whiteness measured before the size press. Further studies are needed to validate this conclusion considering the finished product.
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