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Microscopical Analysis of Pulp & Paper


photomicrograph of wheat straw pulp

Wheat straw pulp


photomicrograph of contaminant (sclereid)

Embedded paper contaminant:
sclereid


photomicrograph of contaminant (polyethylene)

Embedded paper contaminant:
polyethylene

Many properties of pulp or paper can be tied to the properties of the species/genus of the fibers that comprise it. If your product isn't performing the way you expect, you might not have the blend of fiber types or species that you intended. Identifying the species (genus) of fibers in a pulp or paper product is a specialized skill acquired through years of practice and experience at the microscope.


At low-magnification, stereoscopes allow us to examine, remove and identify contaminants, like shives or ash or particulate, that are embedded in a sheet of pulp or paper. At higher magnifications, we can follow the amount of damage to fibers or hardwood vessels at various stages of pulp treatment. Photo-micrographic images of product surfaces and edges can effectively communicate what is happening at the fiber level.


Some examples of what we do:

  • Identify the wood and/or non-wood species in wood chip, pulp, and paper samples
  • Determine chemical/mechanical content and hardwood/softwood content
  • Identify pulp and paper contaminants like shives, plastics, and particulates.
  • Characterize reject materials
  • Measure cell wall thickness and fiber diameters
  • Determine hardwood vessel-to-fiber ratios and analyze vessel size and damage
  • Identify and count: sclereids, stickies and ink particles
  • Capture high-resolution photomicrographs to show fiber characteristics, document product
    condition or defects, show printability problems.
  • Identify asbestos in bulk samples and fiber counts on air samples - NIOSH methods


Your contact is: Graham Vandegriend.


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