The treatment of pulps at low consistencies in conventional beaters or refiners is partially a destructive process that severely damages and shortens the fibres. These disadvantages are over come in high consistency refining (HCR), a technique developed commercially in the USA, which treats a pulp at consistencies of 20-40 per cent by transmitting mechanical energy to a semi-solid fibre pad between the plates of a discrefiner. The refining action is brought about by strong inter fibres hearing actions, by rubbing and sliding of fibres on each other and by the intensive internal friction forces that result. This mechanism gives the fibres a unique appearance that makes it possible readily to detect the HCR pulp in a furnish.
The preservation of the average fibre length while developing extensive fibrillation is the most important feature of the HCR process. The properties of webs formed from an HCR pulp and a jordan refined stock differ noticeably in every phase of sheet consolidation. HCR fibres lurries frequently have a poorer formation, but seem to drain better-at least, in the higher freeness range. The tensile strength of wet HCR fibre mats is not much different from that of conventionally refined pulps, but they have a higher stretch. This was confirmed incommercial newsprint runs. HCR results also in a lower water retention after wet pressing and a greater web shrinkage in the dryer section.
Papers produced from HCR pulps show a very high tearing strength, a higher stretch and a somewhat lower tensile strength than papers obtained from a jordan refined stock. This is largely a result of the much lower fines content of HCR pulps.