paper: Preparation from Wood Pulp
Preparation from Wood Pulp
Most paper is made from wood pulp. Mechanical pulp, or groundwood, prepared by grinding the wood, is used to make newsprint, tissue, towel, and other inexpensive papers. For paper whose whiteness is important, a chemical pulp must be prepared. Lignin, which holds wood fibers together, turns yellow in sunlight and therefore must be removed by alternating treatments with acid and alkaline solutions. The wood pulp, boiled under pressure and treated to dissolve the lignin binder, is thus turned into cellulose fiber. The mixture is then washed and bleached; because the resulting pulp is more than 90% water, the water is usually treated before mixing.
Once the wood pulp has been treated, washed, bleached, screened, and beaten, it is blended to achieve the characteristics required for the intended use. The pulp, suspended in water, is poured over a wire screen in one of two machines that differ mainly in the form of the screen: a belt screen is used in the Fourdrinier machine and a cylindrical one in the cylinder machine. As water drains through the screen, a layer of fibers forms, which in the Fourdrinier is shaken to turn the fibers in different directions so that they mat. A wet felt belt pressed against the screen picks up the paper for feeding through sets of drying rollers. During this stage a rubber roller may be used to imprint a watermark. At the end of the process the paper is passed through a calender (stack of iron rollers), which presses the paper and smooths its surface. Fillers—chiefly clay or starch—are used to improve the printing, texture, and wet and dry strength of paper and to produce other special properties.
Sections in this article:
- The Introduction of Paper
- Treatment for Special Properties
- Preparation from Wood Pulp
- The Formulation of Paper
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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