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Paper mechanics

Quantifying, improving and optimising the mechanical properties of paper

Paper and board are complex materials which suffer from a number of features that can limit their usefulness. The defect sensitivity of the paper material can lead to web breakage in both the manufacturing and subsequent converting processes; creep during long-term loading can mean that paper-based packages break during transport and storage; weak layers in the thickness direction of the paper increase the risk that delamination may occur during the converting processes, and the moisture sensitivity of the paper material can lead to a number of problems.

Exposure to moisture means that papers become softer and weaker, while desiccation makes the paper material brittle. Changes in the moisture content of the paper often mean that the paper becomes cockled and looks unattractive.

Tools for measuring and designing paper properties

Paper physics provides tools for both measuring and designing the properties of paper materials. Test methods can be used not only to classify the properties of the materials but also to provide an understanding of the relationships between manufacturing parameters and material properties. Testing is therefore an excellent tool in the development of paper materials and paper products with improved properties. Moreover, the test data can be used to develop and calibrate models which can in turn be used to simulate, regulate and optimise the manufacturing and converting processes.

To improve a paper property, you must first be able measure it

In order to be able to control and systematically improve a particular paper property, it is essential that the property in question can be measured and quantified. Over the years, Innventia has developed a number of methods for testing paper materials – both standardised methods for production control and world-unique methods and equipment for testing complex paper properties.


Mikael Nygårds
+46 768767193
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Magnus Gimåker
+46 768767024
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Modelling delamination in paperboard during sheet offset printing
Girlanda, O., Fellers, C. (2008)
Appita 61(2):113-119.

The effect of moisture ratio and drying restraint on the stress relaxation of paper
Mäkelä, P. (2007)
Appita annual conference, Appita, Carlton.

Measuring out-of-plane shear properties of paperboard

Nygårds, M., Fellers, C., Östlund, S. (2007)
J. Pulp Pap. Sci. 32(2):105-109.

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