This paper describes an investigation conducted to examine the mesoscale structural properties of single-ply tissue and towel papers by mapping thickness, out-of-plane deformation, formation, and density. The uniformity of each of these properties was studied to a zone size of 0.1 mm in mapped regions of about 10 mm square. The sampling regions were partitioned into subsets that were separately analyzed. Regions of interest included wet pressing marks, embossed patterns and through air drying (TAD) pressed patterns. The relationship between thickness and grammage (basis weight) in the different regions of interest were compared. Differences were attributed to the indentation process that could affect the structure in different ways, depending on the process conditions. Six commercial tissue and towel products were tested.
The regional differences were most apparent in the results for paper towels. Deformation of the structure to form textured patterns compressed regions and increased the local density. There was selected in-plane movement of fibers, in response to the indentation. The towel sample formed by wet pressing did not show the same extent of densification at the indentation site. The structure was deformed out of plane, but not significantly com- pressed. Tissue samples formed by conventional wet pressing showed increased densification at points of indentation. Differences in the out-of-plane response to the pressing process could be distinguished between different tissue samples.