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J Phys Condens Matter. 2013 Jan 30;25(4):045002. doi: 10.1088/0953-8984/25/4/045002. Epub 2012 Dec 5.

Adhesion of cellulose fibers in paper.

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  • 1Peter Grünberg Institut-1, FZ-Jülich, D-52425 Jülich, Germany.


The surface topography of paper fibers is studied using atomic force microscopy (AFM), and thus the surface roughness power spectrum is obtained. Using AFM we have performed indentation experiments and measured the effective elastic modulus and the penetration hardness as a function of humidity. The influence of water capillary adhesion on the fiber-fiber binding strength is studied. Cellulose fibers can absorb a significant amount of water, resulting in swelling and a strong reduction in the elastic modulus and the penetration hardness. This will lead to closer contact between the fibers during the drying process (the capillary bridges pull the fibers into closer contact without storing up a lot of elastic energy at the contacting interface). In order for the contact to remain good in the dry state, plastic flow must occur (in the wet state) so that the dry surface profiles conform to each other (forming a key-and-lock type of contact).

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