Paper is the material for choice for a large variety of packaging applications. It combines superior mechanical strength with cost-effective production and unrivalled sustainability. This CD Laboratory will focus on the porosity of paper, i.e., a key property of paper that is crucially important for packaging and, possibly less obvious, for printing. The explicit aim of this CD Laboratory is to explain the impact of the pore structure on the transport of, e.g., air or other packaged goods on the basis of an in-depth understanding of the pore structure characteristic for paper. Such an in-depth understanding is a crucial prerequisite to adjust the pore structure of paper to optimally support desired applications without trial-and-error.
We will combine mathematical simulations with dedicated experiments to (i) investigate the pore structure of paper on microscopic level and to (ii) study the impact of the pore structure on selected, relevant transport processes for a wide range of microscopic particles. Such processes include, but are not limited to, oxygen exchange through a package under storage conditions, drying speed of an ink droplet, and ventilation of excess air during cement bag filling. Using this strategy, also the migration of microorganisms or organic contaminants through packaging paper will be investigated; both processes are crucially important in the context of food safety.
By means of the knowledge gained with this research, we want to identify the specific characteristics of the pore network of paper that supports a desired application best. Hence, we will also develop methods to measure these characteristic quantities of the pore network.
The such gained insights promote the development of novel concept for paper modifications, either for the improvement of present products or for the development of entirely new products.