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Chementator: Starch-based additives improve paper quality, reduces weight

By Chemical Engineering |

The Technical Research Center of Finland (VTT; Rajamäki; edlinks.chemengonline.com/5826-542) has developed a process to make natural paper additives from starch, which can be used for making high-quality paper that is completely recycleable. The starch-based pigments can be used in conventional papermaking processes instead of inorganic minerals (such as clay, talc, carbonates) for fillers, and instead of petroleum-based binders. Conventional paper is difficult to recycle because of the fillers, adhesives and coatings presently used. As demonstrated in pilot trials, paper incorporating the starch additives (even partially replacing conventional minerals) has a stronger surface strength, making it easier to print on, and the starch also improves the paper’s color density, says VTT scientist Pia Qvintus. The paper is also 20–30% lighter, which would lower transportation costs, she says. The key to VTT’s process is its ability to produce spherical, highly porous starch acetate particles (below 500 nm dia.) with a narrow particle size distribution. Potato starch is used as the starting material because of the brightness, although other starches could be used, says Qvintus. Chemically cleaved starch acetate is first…
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