How Is Paper Made From Trees?

Does paper come from trees?

To answer your question on how paper is made from trees, you’ll need to stick around and read through this article to the very end.

All your pressing questions should be comprehensively answered by the end.

This is a worthwhile read that shouldn’t take much of your time.

Is Paper Made From Trees?

You might have heard about the making of papers from trees and wondered how this process occurs. Without a doubt, most papers are produced from pulp which is derived from wood.

The paper-making process involves a lot of procedures involving both mechanical and chemical processes.

How Paper Is Made From Trees: Technical Process

Making paper from trees is a technical process that requires having the right machinery and tools as well as chemicals.

Also, your understanding of the processes discussed below depends on your level of technical knowledge relating to industrial procedures.

Because we seek to carry every reader along, we will make the details comprehensive enough for easy understanding. In other words, we will try as much as possible to simplify the technical stuff.

So, are you ready? Let’s begin.

How Is Paper Made From Trees Step By Step

When it comes to papermaking, several processes need to be followed.

These include raw material (wood) preparation, fiber separation, and pulp bleaching. Before we proceed, let’s briefly discuss raw material preparation.

It’s no secret that paper is made from trees.

While this is true, not all tree or wood types are suitable for making paper. Also, the type of tree largely determines the paper type produced.

Here, we’ll be focusing on two categories of trees; softwood, and hardwood. Speaking of paper types, we need to state that the paper texture and durability are being focused on.

i. What Trees Are Used To Make Paper?

As stated above, tree types have to do with one of two; soft, and hardwood.

So, how do these two differ when making paper? Tree fibers are crucial to the type of paper being produced. For softwood trees such as fir, spruce, and pine, longer cellulose fibers are derived.

Further processing of softwood trees at paper mills will result in the stronger and more durable paper. We’re not mentioning the specifics of tree processing because further discussions will have shortly.

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For hardwood trees, the process is a bit different.

Some of the trees categorized as hardwoods include maple, oaks, and birches. Unlike softwood trees, these have shorter cellulose fibers which simply means papers produced will be more delicate and opaque.

That’s as far as we’d go on tree or wood types.

Let’s focus on how paper is made from trees, shall we?

ii. Headbox

This is one of the initial procedures through which paper is made from trees.

Here, a mixture mostly containing water as well as fiber is squirted through a thin horizontal slit or provision on the machine. Such water is targeted at a forming fabric on the machine.

This might sound a bit confusing to the reader, but it all makes sense when the process is witnessed firsthand.

iii. Forming

Forming is the process through which a thin mat of paper is formed.

As such fiber emerges from the headbox, it’s evenly spread into a thin layer or mat while water is also removed. Further removal of water is necessary through a drying process as will be discussed shortly.

This is the earliest stage of forming the end product and requires the right kind of machinery and tools to achieve desired results. With forming complete, we proceed to the next stage which is drying.

iv. Drying

As the name suggests, drying occurs as the web passes through multiple heated cast-iron cylinders. These are part of the machinery needed for paper making.

Because they work as a unit, different components of the machine work towards achieving the end goal which is converting trees or wood to paper.

Drying alone won’t get rid of all the moisture from the wet paper. This requires further pressing to get the outcome necessary for further processing.

v. Pressing

The name tells a lot about what goes on here. As the web of wet papers passes through the drying process, further action aimed at moisture reduction is taken.

Here, squeezing of the wet paper web occurs with moisture content reducing to around 50%.

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Now, the product must proceed to the next stage which has to do with the application of starch onto the surface. Why is starch applied? You only need to read on to find out.

vi. Sizing

Sizing is the process where starch is applied to the paper surface.

When this is done, the starch helps strengthen the paper surface. This helps achieve the desired texture. At this stage, the end product is almost achieved.

However, further processing is needed to obtain paper.

vii. Coating

The coating is necessary to help make the paper ready for printing. Without this procedure, it will be difficult making any prints on the paper.

Here, coating color is applied evenly on the paper surface to give it a print-friendly texture. At this stage, the paper-making process is complete.

viii. Reeling

Reeling is a process where a finished paper that has undergone the processes above is reeled and stored. How, or for what the paper will be used will determine its storage and sizing.

Those meant for toilet papers are further processed into the final product while those meant for printing are processed accordingly.

There May be Slight Variations

Having provided an overview of papermaking, it’s necessary to know that slight variations may occur due to improvements in papermaking technology.

Also, the end product will influence the processes followed. In any case, the general guideline discussed is enough to provide an appreciable level of understanding to the reader.

Do You See Yourself Getting into this Line of Business in the Future?

If papermaking from trees interests you, you might want to take things a bit further by setting up your operations. Here, a lot of expertise and hands-on experience are necessary.

You might want to start by working in a paper mill to have firsthand knowledge of how it all happens.

By now, you should have an idea of how paper is made from trees.

We’ve provided a general guideline of what goes on. For readers wanting more detailed information, going into the specifics will be the best option.

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