Which tree is wood pulp made of?
What kind of tree does paper come from?
Presented primarily as magazines, toilet paper, print sources, and other forms, paper is essentially made up of fibers that are processed and compressed in an organized manner. Today paper processing has greatly improved technologically compared to earlier days when this was a manual activity. Technological advancement has made it possible to automate this industry. Technology aside, the changes in the raw materials used in paper processing have changed dramatically over the years, with the shift from non-wood pulp to wood pulp for paper making having changed significantly. In the past, non-wood pulp made from materials such as linen and hemp was mostly used individually or in combination. In recent years, however, the focus has been on trees whose wood pulp is not only abundant and renewable, but also easier to process with minimal water and energy requirements compared to processing non-wood pulp.
Types of trees that are used to make paper
Since wood pulp is the most important raw material for paper production, this means the importance of trees in the paper industry. Trees that are used to make paper are either softwood from hardwood, and softwood conifers make up about 85% of the trees whose pulp is essential for paper. Conifer species have longer cellulose fibers that are known to provide adequate strength to paper. This is shorter compared to the hardwood cellulose fibers. The most important tree species in the softwood category are spruce, pine, fir, larch and hemlock. Eucalyptus is a hardwood that has been used extensively for making paper. Other hardwoods used in this industry are oak, aspen, birch, and maple.
Wood cellulose fibers
Plant cells have an outer cell wall, the main components of which are hemicellulose, cellulose and lignin. Cellulose forms the majority of the plant cell walls and is the target material for the paper processing industry. Compared to other sources of cellulose such as algae and bacterial cell walls, it is abundant and renewable in trees. Cellulose is a polymeric substrate that contains glycosidic bonds that connect its glucose molecules. Chemically, these bonds can be broken down by acid, alkali, or even microbial agents. This factor makes cellulose a biodegradable material, as does paper made from wood cellulose fibers. It also exhibits a desirable level of dimensional stability and strength.
Wood is an abundant and highly renewable raw material for this industry. When harvesting wood, great importance is attached to maintaining and improving the diversity of life and species of trees and forests. Because of these two factors, there are regulations that encourage massive reforestation and the introduction of forest plantations by paper mills. Decisions are made about whether to harvest trees in full or in part, with only a few branches harvested. In the initial phase of tree harvest, the tree bark is separated from the wood. The bark contains some useful fibers, although these are negligible and are mainly used as fuel in the paper mills. The wood is prepared for unlocking by chopping it into manageable blocks and logs.
Author: Eloise Coleman
Eloise Coleman is a 26 year old journalist. Incurable coffee practitioner. Student. Reader. Researcher. Pop culture ninja. Communicator. Thinker.
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