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Effect of chemical additives on Z-direction filler distribution in paper Motiee, Sima

Abstract

It is well known that paper properties such as opacity, printing quality, brightness, and roughness are affected by the z-direction mineral filler distribution. In this study, the effect of four different parameters (filler, starch, chemical retention aids and the machine parameter (vacuum)), on the z-direction filler distribution in paper samples was investigated. Paper samples were made using an apparatus that simulates a suction box. Different levels of filler (PCC), chemical additives and vacuum were chosen based on a central composite design. The effect of these parameters on filler distribution in cross-section of paper samples was investigated by using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Energy Dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX) which is a non-destructive technique. The area covering the thickness of the paper was divided into five layers and each layer was subjected to EDX analysis to obtain the calcium content through the paper thickness. The results indicated that the filler distribution in the z-direction of paper samples increased from the top side to the wire side. The calcium content in the layer near the wire side was significantly higher than in the other layers. The other layers had similar calcium content. The chemical additives as well as vacuum in suction box had a significant effect on the filler distribution. Increasing the filler and starch led to higher level of filler content in all layers through the sheet thickness. Increasing the vacuum and retention aids led to higher level of filler content in layers near the wire side. The effect of high charge density starch used in our study was significantly higher than the effect of retention aids in retaining the filler through the thickness of the paper. Based on the obtained data, a set of empirical models were constructed that can predict the filler distribution through the thickness of the paper. We validated our results by measuring the calcium content through applying image processing technique on the SEM cross-section images and measuring the ash content of paper samples. The results of both of these approaches confirmed the EDX measurements.

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