Mechanics of paper webs in printing press applications

Abstract: The mechanics of paper is a difficult subject because paper is a unique material. It is very thin, flexible at bending, unstable in compression and stiff at tension. Dealing with paper we have to account for orthotropy and heterogeneities created during the manufacturing process.This thesis addresses two topics in mechanics of paper webs in printing press applications. First is the dynamic behaviour of the travelling webs. Second is so-called “fluting” after heat-set web-fed offset printing.There are a number of challenges in simulating the dynamics of the paper web. It is necessary to include the influence of the paper web transport velocity. Due to initial sag or vibrations, gyroscopic forces affect the dynamics of the webs. Furthermore, the transport velocity reduces the stress stiffening of the web. A good theoretical model should account for large displacements and should be capable of simulating wrinkles, which is essentially a post-buckling phenomenon. Finally, the paper web is surrounded with air which reduces the natural frequencies substantially by “adding" mass to the paper. A non-linear finite element formulation has been developed in this study for simulation of travelling webs. The results of the studies shows that for the tension magnitudes used in the printing industry the critical web speed lies far above those used today. Speed limitations are rather caused by ink setting and tension control problems. If the web tension profile is skew, however, edge vibrations are inevitable even at small external excitations.Fluting is a permanent wavy distortion of the paper web after heat-set web offset printing. It is often seen in high quality printing products, especially in areas covered with ink. It is generally accepted that tension and heat are required to create fluting. However, there have been certain disputes as to the mechanism of fluting formation, retention and key factors affecting this phenomenon. Most of the existing studies related to fluting are based on linear buckling theories. A finite element model, capable of simulating a post-buckling behaviour has been developed and experimentally verified. Studies show that none of the existing theories can consistently explain fluting. A new basic mechanism of fluting formation has been proposed and numerically demonstrated. Fluting was explained as a post-buckling phenomenon due to small scale moisture variations developing during through-air drying. It was concluded that air permeability variation is the key factor affecting fluting tendency. Fluting is retained due to inelastic deformations promoted by high drying temperatures.