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what is paper? Back to the Blackboard Back to the Blackboard

Paper is an aqueous deposit of any vegetable fibre in sheet form!

fibresWhat does that mean? If you tear a piece of paper you will see a number of minute 'whiskers' sticking out from the line of the tear. These are the fibres, they are very small in size (not much more than a millimetre in length) and there are millions of them in any piece of paper.

Paper is made from cellulose - trees being the main source of cellulose fibre (or woodpulp). Besides woodpulp, paper can be made from other materials such as cotton, flax, esparto, straw, hemp, manilla and jute. 

Some of the pulp properties depend upon the process used to separate the fibres from the timber. The main processes are called mechanical and chemical.

Visit our Papermaking Process diagram to see in more detail how paper is made. 

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......© Confederation of Paper Industries, 1 Rivenhall Road, Swindon, Wiltshire SN5 7BD