Paper – organic fibre pulp filtered on the sieve, weighing from 28 to 200 g/m². Produced by placing fibers on the sieve. The paper is produced in the form of sheets or ribbon wound in coils. After the mixture has been shaped on the sieve, it is dewatered, pressed, dried and smoothed in divided stages of a continuous manufacturing process.
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Organic fibres are usually used: cellulose fibre, wood pulp fibre, which is obtained by grind and milling pine logs (the so-called pulp) in the process of mechanical defibering. Sometimes the process of chemical pulping is used and other vegetable fibres (straw, cane, cotton, flax, hemp, bamboo) are used. Waste paper that has been previously dispersed is also used.
Apart from organic fibres, the paper contains non-fibrous substances – organic fillers: e.g. potato starch and inorganic fillers – mineral ones: kaolin, talc, gypsum, chalk, sometimes hydrosulfite chemical substances and dyes. Fillers improve paper properties (smoothness, selfbreakability, opacity, whiteness, shade).
The type of fibres, fillers and proportions of their use are determined by the paper recipe, depending on the type and purpose of the paper.
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Paper (according to the Chinese chronicles) was invented in China by a cannonist at the court of Emperor He Di of the Han dynasty, eunucha Cai Lun, around 105 A.D. The cannonist experimented with tree bark, silk and even fishing nets until he found his way to the right method (handmade paper) using silk and linen rags. Emperor He Di, in recognition of the importance of the invention, raised it to the rank of Minister of Agriculture.
However, the results of archaeological research show that the paper was known earlier, at least in the year 8 B.C. This year comes a piece of paper with 20 Chinese marks found in the Nefrytowa Gate, the border guardian of the Silk Road. Perhaps the paper is even older, its unwritten scraps were found in positions probably dating back to the second century BC, but this dating is uncertain. It is therefore likely that Cai Lun invented only a method for mass production of paper.