The Birth of Paper
Ever wondered how the paper in your notebook come about?
Or the process it when through before reaching in your hands? Wood chips from de-barked logs needs to undergo various transformations and reactions before revealing itself in the form of various paper materials we see in our daily life. Currently, the most prevail paper making process is the Kraft process, accounting for over 80% of the paper produced in the United States.
In this process, wood chips are placed through the pulping process in pressurized digesters with strong basic mixtures containing chemicals such as Sodium Hydroxide and Sodium Sulphide. In these digesters, a process call delignification occurs where unwanted lignin from these chips are degraded and separated form cellulose, giving us a lignin-free pulp. The appearance of the pulp now differ vastly from the chips they were formed from, inheriting only the brown colour from the wood used to make it.
This brown pulp, which is also call brown stock, have to undergo the bleaching process to produce a white paper product. Residual lignin which are left behind from the delignification process are filtered off as they will cause the paper to yellow easily. Some common bleaching chemicals includes Sodium Chlorite, Sodium Dithionite or Hydrogen Peroxide.
After bleaching, the pulp is beginning to resemble its final product. It is then subjected to a series of pounding and squeezing process called beating. A few finishing chemicals such as Kaolin Clay, Calcium Carbonate or Titanium Dioxide (Anatase) can then be added to improve various properties such as strength, opacity and brightness of the paper product.
Finally, the dried paper is wound onto large reels, where it will be further processed depending on consumer’s needs.
The Kraft paper making process have been the main manufacturing process for decades and there have been many refinement along the way to improve efficiency and lower pollutions. Currently, there is a demand for global industry in reducing chemical usage. The pulp and paper industry is one of the main culprit, consuming large amounts of chemicals through the Kraft process. Many paper industries in the market are working towards reducing chemical usage and cleaner alternatives. One such innovation includes the GreenBox++™ technology from American Process Inc. (API) chemical pulping process was replaced with replaced with API’s patented hot-water extraction process enhanced with their Nanocellulose technology.
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