Microstructure and mechanical properties of free and restrained dried paper: a comprehensive investigation

Georg Johann Urstöger, Artem Kulachenko, Robert Schennach, Ulrich Hirn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The influence of strain during drying is known to have a large effect on its mechanical properties like tensile strength, Young’s modulus and hygroexpansion. In this study we investigate free and restrained dried paper and investigate the relation between the paper microstructure and its mechanical properties. The first part of the work investigates the development of the mechanical properties as well as paper internal stresses and strains (elastic-, inelastic- and hygrostrain) at different moisture contents during the drying process. Emphasis is put on the changes of hygrostrains and the paper hygroexpansion coefficient during drying. One main finding was that in constrained drying the drying stresses are considerably below the yield stress and, as a consequence, the deformations are mainly inelastic (creep) and only marginally elastic. In the second part we are analyzing the microstructure of free and restrained dried sheets by X-ray microtomography (μ-CT). From the μ-CT analysis relevant network parameters such as number of contact points, fiber bond area, free fiber length and fiber curl were extracted. Also a novel method to investigate the interface angle of the fibers in the vicinity of the bond sites was established. The results showed that the major difference from the drying procedure manifests itself in the out-of-plane curl of the fibers. Statistically number of contact points, bond area and in-plane curl were not different whereas in-plane curl and free fiber length were different. The interface angle appears to be slightly affected by the drying procedure but is overall very low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8567-8583
Number of pages17
Issue number15
Early online dateJul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Drying
  • Interface angle
  • Mechanics
  • Microstructure
  • Microtomography
  • Paper

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Polymers and Plastics


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