History and Production of Paper

  • Paper was first made in China in the 2nd century BCE.
  • The knowledge of papermaking spread to the Islamic world after the Battle of Talas in 751 CE.
  • Paper production spread to medieval Europe in the 13th century.
  • Industrialization in the 19th century reduced the cost of manufacturing paper.
  • In 1844, inventors in Canada and Germany developed processes for pulping wood fibers.
  • Before industrialization, paper was made from recycled fibers from textiles.
  • The process of removing printing inks from recycled paper, called deinking, was invented in 1774.
  • Wood pulp was introduced in 1843, reducing the dependence on recycled materials.
  • Hemp, linen, and cotton were common sources of fiber for paper production.
  • Wood pulp replaced recycled materials as the main source of fiber.
  • The word 'paper' comes from the Latin word 'papyrus,' which originated from the Greek word for the Cyperus papyrus plant.
  • Papyrus was a thick material used for writing before the introduction of paper.
  • Paper and papyrus are produced differently, with paper being manufactured from macerated fibers.
  • Papyrus is made from natural plant fibers, while paper is made from fibers with changed properties.
  • Papermaking is the process of producing paper from fibers.
  • Chemical pulping processes separate lignin from cellulose fiber.
  • Wood-free papers are made from chemical pulps that do not contain lignin.
  • Mechanical pulping processes, such as thermomechanical pulp and groundwood pulp, have high yields but produce weaker paper.
  • Paper recycling processes can use chemically or mechanically produced pulp to break hydrogen bonds and separate fibers.
  • Paper recycling processes often use de-inked pulp, which can be of lower quality than the original paper.
  • There are three main classifications of recycled fiber: mill broke, preconsumer waste, and postconsumer waste.
  • Mill broke refers to substandard or grade-change paper within the paper mill itself.
  • Preconsumer waste includes offcut and processing waste generated outside the paper mill.
  • Postconsumer waste includes used paper from its intended end use, such as office waste and newsprint.

Additives and Finishing

  • Fibres in pulps may contain fillers like chalk or china clay.
  • Additives for sizing purposes can be mixed with the pulp or applied later in the manufacturing process.
  • Sizing is done to establish the correct level of surface absorbency for ink or paint.
  • Additives improve the characteristics of paper for printing or writing.
  • The purpose of additives is to enhance the quality of the paper.
  • Paper may undergo sizing to alter its physical properties.
  • Coated paper has a thin layer of material applied to create a surface suitable for high-resolution halftone screens.
  • Coated papers can be matte, semi-matte, silk, or gloss.
  • The paper can be fed onto reels for web printing presses or cut into sheets for other purposes.
  • Paper grain can be wove or textured, depending on the desired finish.

Applications and Types of Paper

  • Paper can be produced with a wide variety of properties for different uses.
  • It is used for representing value, storing information, and publishing materials.
  • Paper is used for communication, organization, and artistic works.
  • It is also used in packaging, cleaning, and construction.
  • Different types of paper are used for specific applications.
  • Printing papers of wide variety
  • Wrapping papers for protection of goods
  • Writing paper suitable for stationery
  • Blotting papers with little or no size
  • Drawing papers with rough surfaces for artists and designers

Paper Sizes and Properties

  • Paper thickness is often measured by caliper, given in thousandths of an inch or micrometers.
  • Paper can range between 0.07 and 0.18 millimeters thick.
  • Weight is a measure of the paper's mass per unit area.
  • In the US, weight is based on the weight of a ream of paper before it is cut into smaller sizes.
  • In Europe, weight is expressed in grams per square meter (gsm).
  • A0 paper size is 1189 — 841mm
  • A1 is half the size of A0
  • A2 is half the size of A1
  • Common sizes used are A4 and A3
  • A3 is the size of two A4 sheets

Environmental Impact and Future Developments

  • Worldwide paper consumption increased by 400% in the past 40 years
  • 35% of harvested trees are used for paper manufacture
  • Paper waste accounts for up to 40% of total waste produced in the US
  • The average office worker in the US prints 31 pages every day
  • Americans use approximately 16 billion paper cups per year
  • Asia has surpassed North America as the top pulp and paper producing continent
  • Production of graphic papers has been declining, while other papers and paperboard production has increased
  • Cardboard production has been increasing due to e-commerce and COVID-19-related lockdowns
  • PaperFoam, a biodegradable and recyclable alternative to expanded plastic packaging
  • Zein (corn protein) as a coating for high grease applications
  • Introduction of synthetics like Tyvek and Teslin as more durable printing media
  • Increasing focus on environmentally friendly alternatives to synthetic coatings
  • Higher prices of hydrocarbon based petrochemicals driving innovation in paper coatings.

Paper Data Sources

Reference URL
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