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Paper is used all over the world, it is one of the most important and useful items ever invented by mankind - it is also one that a lot of us take for granted.
This article celebrates all things paper! And includes information on how it is made, the different types and some lesser known facts.
How it is made. Before diving right in, it is important to know some background information about trees. Trees are made up of layers. These layers are the bark, phloem, cambium, xylem and heartwood. All of these layers are made up of tiny cellulose strands called fibers; these fibers are stuck together by a natural adhesive called lignin. It is only by harvesting and separating these that we are able to make paper.
In its most basic form, the manufacture of paper can be broken down into 3 stages. Initially, wood is placed into a chipper and ground down into very small pieces. The wood chips are then placed in water where they are boiled; this creates wood pulp. Finally, chemicals such as starch and bonding agents are added and the pulp is poured over a thin mesh grate. This allows the water to escape leaving the cellulose fibers behind, the fibers left behind are what form paper.
Not all materials are the same though; trees can be categorized into either hardwood or softwood; which category the wood falls into effects the properties of the product created.