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Relationship between the decrease of degree of polymerisation of cellulose and the loss of groundwood pulp paper mechanical properties during accelerated ageing

Katarína Vizárová, Soňa Kirschnerová, František Kačík, Anna Briškárová, Štefan Šutý, and Svetozár Katuščák

Institute of Polymer Materials, Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology, Slovak University of Technology, Radlinského 9, 812 37 Bratislava, Slovakia



Abstract: During natural ageing, paper undergoes colour changes and becomes brittle. It is mainly due to the degradation of cellulose, the main component of paper fibres. From the viewpoint of conservation/protection of paper-based information carriers, as well as of the utilisation of secondary fibres, knowledge of the impact of a decrease of the degree of polymerisation (DP) of cellulose on mechanical properties of paper becomes of key importance. In this paper, correlations between the decrease of DP of cellulose and the loss of paper folding endurance (FE) using three model samples (pure cellulose, groundwood pulp paper, and degraded groundwood pulp paper) at accelerated ageing were investigated. The existence of such correlations between DP and FE is supported by experimental results; the correlations are linear for pure cellulose and groundwood pulp paper ageing, while exponential correlation was observed in case of degraded groundwood pulp paper. The results indicate that the rate of paper degradation can be evaluated by means of the rate of glycosidic bonds breaking in cellulosic polymer chains both for cellulose and groundwood pulp paper.

Keywords: degree of polymerisation – cellulose – groundwood pulp paper – folding endurance – accelerated ageing

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-012-0236-1


Chemical Papers 66 (12) 1124–1129 (2012)

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