Research press release


Scientific Reports

Materials science: Pulp fiction - and facts



今回、Christian Teichertたちは、原子間力顕微鏡を用いて、個々のパルプ繊維間の結合の機械的特性をナノスケールで調べて、結合した2本の紙繊維の破断荷重を分析した。この研究では、1つの繊維間結合に対して、校正済みのカンチレバーを静的、動的に接触させて、結合が破断するまで続けた。その結果、繊維間の架橋因子として作用する微細な繊維(「フィブリル」あるいは「フィブリルバンドル」と呼ばれる)が繊維間結合に非常に重要な役割を果たすことが明らかになった。高度に精製されたパルプの場合には、この機械的かみ合わせ機構によって、結合エネルギーが倍増する。

An atomic-force microscopy technique reveals new insights into what holds paper together. The results, reported in the journal Scientific Reports, could potentially be used to help improve the strength of packaging paper and reduce the material and energy inputs into the paper production process.

Paper is a versatile material that has been used for centuries, mainly for the exchange of information or for protecting and storing goods. Although the importance of paper for information exchange might decrease with the advent of tablets and e-books, its role as a natural and degradable packaging material is likely to increase. Various types of bonds, as well as microcompression and capillary bridges are all thought to contribute to the bonding between pulp fibres, but it has remained uncertain which mechanisms are dominant.

Christian Teichert and colleagues used atomic-force microscopy to probe the mechanical properties of bonds between individual pulp fibres at the nanoscale and to analyse the breaking force between two bonded paper fibres. They show that a single fibre-fibre bond is loaded with a calibrated cantilever statically and dynamically until the bond breaks. The authors reveal that tiny fibres called fibrils, or fibril bundles, which act as bridging elements between the fibres, play a crucial role in bonding. This mechanical interlocking system boosts the bond energy by a factor of two for highly refined pulp.

doi: 10.1038/srep02432


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