The scanning electron microscope has been used to observe changes in the structure of paper at different stages of pressing and drying.
In the first experiments, beaten kraft pulp handsheets were subjected to various pressing and drying treatments. The structure at the solids content achieved was stabilised by freezing and drying by sublimation under vacuum. Photo micrographs show the collapse of the fibres and consolidation of the paper structure during processing.
Samples of the web were obtained at positions from the wet end to the reel of operating kraft, bond and newsprint paper machines. As soon as the specimens were sampled, they were quickly frozen and later dried under vacuum in the laboratory.
The influence of water removal on the web and fibre structure by pressing and drying is illustrated. The relative importance of fibre conformity and fine material differs for the three paper grades. Under pressure, fibres are deformed plastically, particularly at crossing points and asperities. Collapse of fibres on removal of water from the lumen and the fibre walls by drying can usually be distinguished from that produced by mechanical pressure.