Polyvinyl alcohol as foaming agent in foam formed paper, TAPPI JOURNAL August 2019

Application: The use of polyvinyl alcohol as a foaming and strength agent has been investigated. The results can be used to judge which type of PVOH should be used when looking for optimum strength and foaming properties.

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Picture of the productPolyvinyl alcohol as foaming agent in foam formed paper, TAP
ABSTRACT: The use of polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH or PVA) as a foaming agent in foam formed paper was investigated. Polyvinyl alcohol is a linear, nonionic water-soluble polymer. It has hydrophobic and hydrophilic parts that give it a surface-active character. PVOH is mainly characterized by degree of hydrolysis and molar mass. Degree of hydrolysis is given as mol-% hydroxyl groups on the polymer. Molar mass is measured indirectly by measuring the viscosity of a 4% PVOH solution. The results show that the degree of hydrolysis of PVOH had a strong effect on the foamability of PVOH. Foamability decreased strongly when the degree of hydrolysis increased from 88 to 98 mol-%. The effect of molar mass on foamability was weaker. We saw an increase in foam stability and bubble size with increasing molar mass, but we did not see any effect on maximum air content. PVOH dosage needed to reach >70% air content (F) varied from 2 g/l up to 10.5 g/l, and the lowest addition levels of PVOH needed were achieved with a low molar mass PVOH with a low degree of hydrolysis. The best strength properties were achieved when using fully hydrolyzed PVOH as the foaming agent. Strength properties (both in- and out-of-plane) of samples made using PVOH were better than those made using an anionic foaming agent (sodium dodecyl sulfate, SDS). By adding PVOH binder fibers to the pulp, we were able to further enhance the strength properties of paper and board.

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