Wicking in Multi-Ply Paper Structures with Dissimilar Plies

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McDonald, Patrick Edward
Ahrens, Frederick
Patterson, Timothy
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The wicking properties of multi-ply paper samples with dissimilar plies were investigated. These materials exhibit wicking performance in excess of either of their individual plies. Samples were produced from a ply of softwood pulp and a ply of hardwood pulp of equal caliper and basis weight. The softwood sample possessed a larger average pore size, a fact verified via porometry. Samples of a single ply were also produced for comparison. The samples were tested using both upward and downward gravimetric wicking tests. There was no saturation gradient observed, however there was a variation in the degree of bulk expansion during wicking. Capillary pressure and permeability for the various sample types were determined from the results of these tests and compared. It is shown that the wicking performance of the two ply sample is comparable to that of a theoretical material with the capillary pressure of the hardwood ply but the permeability of the softwood ply. Wicking in two-ply samples was also observed in an NMR apparatus. This was used to determine that the hardwood ply leads during wicking, and observe the rate of saturation as well as bulk expansion. A third type of experiment tracked the transport of dyed water from one ply to the other, establishing the direction of fluid transport during wicking to be from the softwood ply to the hardwood ply. The theory is proposed, based on these results, that wicking in this type of material consists of a smaller pored leading ply that draws water from a more permeable larger pored material that acts as a moving reservoir.
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