AbstractFibre morphology and its evolution during refining and fractionation at low consistency were studied to understand the key relationships between the mechanical properties of paper and those of fibres. A broad analysis is presented on the physical and mechanical properties characterising the intrinsic morphological properties of fibres. The experimental refining process involved a primary stage at high consistency (HC), a fractionation stage with a small aperture basket, a low consistency (LC) refining stage, and a final high consistency refining (HCR) stage. The idea was to benefit from the pulp already being at low consistency following the screening step. Using a higher proportion of low consistency refining (LCR) tended to lower the tensile strength at 100 mL CSF, but some intermediate values did exhibit better responses to refining. Fractionation permits the use of LCR to retain fibre length and to develop additional long fibre bonding. The net gain remains even with energy reduction. It is believed, among other things, that a greater number or greater intensity of fibre-to-bar contacts would help increase internal delamination of the fibre structure.