Rewet suppression through press felt engineering, TAPPI Journal June 2022



Application: This work describes a novel approach to prevent rewet in the press section. The authors hope that the papermaking community will use these insights to design press fabrics that increase the energy efficiency of the mill.

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Author: Sumner Dudick; Dennis W. Hess; and Victor Breedveld
Rewet suppression through press felt engineering, TAPPI Jour
ABSTRACT: Due to the immense energy and associated financial cost of drying paper, achieving a drier web entering the dryers is a key objective in paper manufacture. One major research thrust has been finding a way to increase press solids by mitigating or eliminating rewet in the press section. For decades, solutions to this problem have remained elusive. In this work, we develop a novel approach that significantly reduces rewet by rupturing the liquid channels between felt and web. We illustrate the effects that altering the mechanical and surface properties of the press felt matrix have on the stability of these liquid channels. In a laboratory-scale platen press, a 40% reduction in the residual water of 120 g/m2 southern bleached softwood kraft (SBSK) pulp handsheets after pressing was observed, corresponding to an increase in press solids from 48% to 61%. For reference, pressing under identical conditions with paper blotters, in which minimal rewet is presumed to occur, resulted in 64% solids. Furthermore, we observed enhanced dewatering across a range of basis weights, applied pressures, and felt types. In addition to measuring the solids content of pressed sheets, we capture and analyze video evidence of the mechanisms at play in our improved dewatering technology.
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