1981 Volume 1
Cambridgepp 3-17Fashions in Scientific Research: The Interactions between Scientific Curiosity and Industrial NeedsAbstractPDF
This paper starts by considering the factors that determine fashions in fundamental scientific research in the field of physics and discusses the interaction of such research with industrial needs. It emphasises the importance of pure research both within industry and outside and suggests that this should be regarded by industrial accountants as an issue of ‘enlightened self interest’ for industry itself.
A living system however primitive, must include mechanisms for conservation as well as for variation of genetic information and for its adaptation to optimal phenotypic performance under given environmental conditions.
In order to maintain such a state of optimal performance the system has to metabolise steadily energy-rich material thereby remaining in a (meta-) stable ‘far from equilibrium’ position. If such material prerequisites are fulfilled ‘life’ should emerge inevitably as a ‘regularity among material events’ and such a regularity, if it exists, should be testable under laboratory conditions.
Virus replicases have been shown to provide efficient mechanisms for assembling de novo macromolecular RNA-templates from energy-rich monomeric precursors and for adapting them quickly to optimal self-reproductive performance. With the help of such systems the theory of molecular self-organisation (e.g. the quasi-species model) has been tested quantitatively. The experiments, in particular, have addressed the question “first template – first enzyme?” including adaptation of target and source function of the genotypes. A machine is described in which experiments on self-reproduction and translation can be carried out in a continuous and systematic way. Questions regarding the origin of life can thereby be scrutinised by experimental falsification.
The mechanical properties of fibrous composite materials will be reviewed. Such materials are made, either in order to realise in practice the properties of the fibres, or else in order to increase the toughness of a matrix. The mechanical principles governing the interaction of fibre and matrix will be sketched and up to date examples of the properties of both types of composite given.
The author deals with the complex relationships which can, or should, exist between fundamental and applied research, and discusses the ways in which healthy relationships can contribute significantly to a Nation’s economic growth. The author concludes that the traditional classification of research as either fundamental or applied may interfere with the development of the healthy relationships required. He suggests an alternative model, based upon distinctions between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation of the research activity.
Considering the very small amount of fundamental research, that is to say scientific investigation conducted with no particular objective, carried out in the past in the subject of pulp and paper, it is pointless to try to discuss its impact. If, however, the term is widened to include orientated research, then it becomes possible to elucidate its impact on breaks-through in pulping.
Numerous examples are presented to illustrate the relative importance of fundamental research in the achievement of technological breaks-through in such areas as outside chip storage, carbohydrate stabilising additives in alkaline cooking, delignification promoting additives in alkaline cooking, twostage sulphite cooking, oxygen bleaching, displacement bleaching, and steam drying.
The findings indicate that empirical experimentation as well as the artistic combination of existing knowledge, often from different disciplines, has been most effective in bringing about technological breaks-through. Fundamental research has also been quite effective when it has been directed towards the attainment of a specified objective. It seems to have been least effective when it has been primarily either explanatory, to set a recent finding in its proper background, or repetitive, to discover how a finding made elsewhere can be applied to local conditions.
All high quality fundamental research will give rise to new data for relevant system properties, and to new models representing the best available descriptions of the systems under consideration. This helps others to make future technological breaks-through, perhaps through empirical approaches, but often through the proper combination of knowledge from various fields.
The technical strength as well as the competitiveness of the industry will in the future, as in the past, be strongly dependent on the extent and effectiveness of the research which is undertaken. It is therefore essential for the future of the pulp and paper industry that R & D activity be maintained at a very high level.
A subjective evaluation of the role of fundamental research in the manufacture of paper over the past 25 – 30 years traces the roots of some important inventions back to fundamental research endeavors. During this time, technical progress in paper manufacture has been both rapid and multifaceted. Fundamental research in relevant areas has resulted in higher productivity, improved process and product control, and better design of the paper-making process and the associated equipment.
These improvements clearly indicate an important role for collective efforts, guided by ‘far-sighted industry leaders, in the area of fundamental research. The assignment of scientists by industry leaders to carry out this research in areas recognised as bottlenecks to technical development appears to have led to many of the important developments. Because improvements to the paper-making process are expected to yield returns to the paper industry, the responsibility for initiating, funding, and guiding fundamental research in appropriate areas must rest with the paper industry.
Symposia of a fundamental nature have been important in reviewing the state of the art, thereby exposing not only knowledge but also the notable lack thereof in essential areas .
Cambridgepp 105-115Impact of Fundamental Research on Knowledge of the Mechanical PropertiesAbstractPDF
Recent trends in structural design theory and material science are reviewed and discussed in relation to research on the mechanical properties of paper and board.
Quality control, statistical quality control, process control, total quality, are some of the phrases used to describe a function that varies considerably from one manufacturer to another and from one author to another. This paper attempts to review the changes in the concept of quality control that have resulted from the application of research programmes.
The historical scenario has three aspects. Just before the war an awareness was arising of the fact that paper was variable and that the variability had two components: along and across the machine. During the war paper had to conform to the same acceptance procedures as a raw material as did other military supplies. Thus the concept of statistical quality control was developed which, whilst recognising the need to relate property levels to the underlying variability, nevertheless used methods more adapted to discrete units of production rather than to a continous product.
It was not until after the war that major studies were undertaken, in the golden era of paper research, into the variability on the macro- and micro-scale of the paper product. This was the period of the awareness of the need for uniformity and freedom from mechanical defects, particularly in paper for high speed letterpress and gravure applications. The results of detailed study into the heterogeneity of the sheet prompted the development of instruments which would enable fundamental properties to be measured.
The result of two decades of fundamental work, not by the paper industry but by the process control industry, is the current situation of integrated measurement and control, which is described in some detail. Finally, the ability to know precisely what is being made has resulted in the concept of total quality.
Such a survey would not be complete without some reference to the development of product quality standards and specialised tests which relate to end user requirements. These, however, whilst constituting a major factor in the industry’s research programme, are, in the authors opinion, of less importance in comparison to the extraordinary developments in process control made by firms specialising in that function.
Acknowledgements are made to very many people throughout the
industry who have helped in this survey.
The need to make the best use of wood supplies, conserve energy, and reduce the costs of pollution abatement has stimulated research to improve the yield, accelerate the rate, and reduce the odoriferous nature of kraft pulping. Because the structure of lignin is imperfectly understood, the quest for reagents which can accelerate delignification has been handicapped. In contrast, because the structure and reactions of cellulose and other wood polysaccharides are known, deductive methods have been applied in the search for reagents which can protect these polymers from alkaline degradation and thus improve pulp yields. The discovery of the dramatic accelerating effect of anthraquinone on alkaline delignification can, in fact, be traced back to a series of investigations which began with a search for reagents capable of inhibiting the alkaline degradation of cellulose. Against this background, research on pulping additives in reviewed, with particular reference to the current status and potential of catalytic accelerators in alkaline pulping.
Cambridgepp 195-225Fundamental and Practical Aspects of Paper-Making with Recycled FibresAbstractPDF
The basic mechanism for the development of an irreversible swelling hindrance is discussed. It is demonstrated that changes in cell wall structure caused by pulping, chemical modification and straining during drying influence the ability of fibres to reswell after drying.
The results indicate that structural alterations take place during the drying of a cell wall. It is suggested that the basic phenomenon is the irreversible closing of cell wall pores. This essentially leaves a fibre wall which is more resistant to the mechanical treatment which promotes swelling and more prone to fragmentisation and the production of fines.