Paper & Board

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Sources & Origins

The origin and sources of paper help us to understand the full journey of paper from many perspectives including designers, manufacturers, and consumers.

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Pulp mixture

  • Papers and board are made from a pulp mixture. This is often a combination of cellulose fibres and a large amount of water.
  • The cellulose fibres come from a wide range of different woods.
  • These woods are bamboo, sugar cane, hemp, flax and straw.
  • A combination of softwoods and hardwoods are best. Generally, fast-growing softwoods are used as it is more sustainable.
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  • The pulp is made from debarked logs, these are then converted into fine chips.
  • A chemical solution is added which contains cellulose.
  • This is then cooked in many large tanks under high pressure.
  • This fibrous liquid is then coloured or bleached depending on the application and end product.
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  • In order to get the required finish, the liquid is then beaten with other chemicals or additives. This is called sizing.
  • The process of sizing stops paper from being as absorbent which allows the paper to be used for printing, photocopying and painting.
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Sizing cont.

  • Sizing allows for ink not to be absorbed and allows for it to be dried on the surface, this is cost effective and allows for accurate printing and painting.
  • In some cases you will want very little sizing. This is important for products like toilet tissue or a kitchen paper towel as they are required to absorb liquids.
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Converting pulp into a paper

  • When converting the pulp to paper it is important to use mass production. Mass production is the production of thousands of products in a factory.
  • Water is drained away using mesh conveyor belts.
  • The paper will be stretched and squeezed of any excess water.
  • The paper is then passed through the drying rollers and then the final Calendar rollers.
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  • These rollers give the desired finish, often if you need a matt or satin finish this can be applied by the final rollers.
  • A finish is applied to a material as its final coat or procedure to enhance the properties in mainly aesthetic or a functional way.
  • An example of a paper with a finish is bleed-proof paper. This has a hard finish which resists the ink from spreading, this is useful for product/graphic designers using graphic marker pens.

Jump to other topics

1Core Technical Principles

2Paper & Board: Specialist Technical Principles

3Timber: Specialist Technical Principles

4Metal: Specialist Technical Principles

5Polymers: Specialist Technical Principles

6Textiles: Specialist Technical Principles

7Designing & Making Principles

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