Paper-like products or paper substitutes made largely from synthetic polymers are classified as synthetic paper, as recently proposed from Japan. (¹) Several different types have been developed and the most important are in the following three groups –
1 . Spunbonded sheets.
2. Paper-like polymer films (including foamed sheets).
3. Synthetic pulp products.
In addition, there are various combinations of synthetic polymers with pulp fibres that have been developed, tested and used as paper products for example, addition of synthetic fibres to pulp fibres, impregnation of pulp fibres with synthetic polymers, lamination of paper and board with synthetic polymers and graft copolymerisation of synthetic polymers to pulp fibres. Some of these processes and products are well known and conventional (such as lamination) and some are experimental only (such as grafting) they will therefore not be further described here. One type of synthetic pulp called fibrids was developed early as a thermoplastic binder in paper. (²,³) In principle, fibrid technology is related to synthetic pulp production (group 3).
There are several reviews and books published on synthetic papers for example, Battista, (⁴) Wolpert, (⁵) Johnson, (⁶) Lunk & Strange, (⁷) Inagaki, (⁸) Kossoff, (⁹) and others. (¹⁰,¹¹)