Laboratory method for the study of moisture-induced waviness in paper

University dissertation from Karlstads universitet : Karlstad

Abstract: Paper that is subjected to moisture undergoes dimensional changes. It expands during moistening and shrinks during drying. When the paper is under tension between rollers, the effects are complex since shrinkage and expansion are restricted in the width direction. Waves can then appear on the paper web. This can be a problem in heatset web offset printing. The problem is known as waviness or fluting. The printed papers exhibit a wavy shape, which is visually disturbing due to light reflections which create glossy streaks. The aim of the work described in this thesis was to develop a method suitable for studying the moisture- and tension-induced waviness. Experiments were carried out on a laboratory scale to study how such waves develop during moistening and drying. The experimental setup was based on a modified tensile tester. A CCD camera and image analysis based on the STFI-OptiTopo technique was used to characterise the waviness. Moistening and drying were achieved by changing the surrounding air humidity. The method was used to study the effect of moisture uptake by the paper, and to evaluate the effect of tension on the waviness. It was found that increasing moisture resulted in a higher waviness amplitude, but that the web tension controlled the wavelength of the waviness. A high tension gave rise to a shorter wavelength. The measured wavelength was compared with a previously suggested model and the predicted wavelength was about twice as high as the measured wavelength.