On increasing wet-web strength with adhesive polymers, TAPPI JOURNAL February 2020

Application: Can wet-end polymers improve wet-web strength during papermaking? Based on the literature and new work, this paper describes strategies where the answer may be yes.

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Author: Robert Pelton, Dong Yang, and Emil Gustafsson
On increasing wet-web strength with adhesive polymers, TAPPI
ABSTRACT: Fiber-fiber adhesion, called “bonding” in the old paper physics literature, is a critical component of the overall strength of dry paper. With freshly formed very wet pulp fiber webs, all evidence suggests there are no fiber-fiber crossings with significant adhesive joint strength. With water removal, a point will be reached where fiber-fiber adhesion starts to contribute to the overall wet-web strength.The literature reveals very few examples of polymers that increase fiber-fiber joint strength in freshly formed webs. Here, we summarize the literature and explain why it is so difficult to promote fiber-fiber wet adhesion with polymers. Nevertheless, ongoing research in areas as diverse as tissue engineering scaffolds and biomimetic adhesives gives clues to future developments. Advances in paper machine engineering have lessened the importance of wet-web strength. By contrast, a critical issue in many of the evolving nanocellulose technologies is the strength of objects first formed by aqueous processing, the green strength—the strength of wet bodies before drying. For exam-ple, 3-D printed nanocellulose objects and ultralow density cellulosic aerogels can be destroyed by capillary forces during drying. There is a need for adhesives that strengthen freshly formed, wet lignocellulosic joints.

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