Micromechanical Numeric Investigation of Fiber Bonds in 3D Network Structures.
Abstract: In manufacturing of paper and paperboard, optimized fiber usage has crucial importance for process efficiency and profitability. Dry strength of paper is one of the important quality criteria, which can be improved by adding dry strength additive that affect fiber to fiber bonding. This study is using the micromechanical simulations which assist interpretation of the experimental results concerning the effect of strength additives. A finite element model for 3D dry fiber network was constructed to study the effect of bond strength, bond area and the number of bonds numerically on the strength of paper products. In the network, fibers’ geometrical properties such as wall thickness, diameter, length and curl were assigned according to fiber characterization of the pulp and SEM analyses of dry paper cross-section. The numerical network was created by depositing the fibers onto a flat surface which should mimic the handsheet-making procedure. In the FE model, each fiber was represented with a number of quadratic Timoshenko beam elements where fiber to fiber bonds were modelled by beam-to-beam contact. The contact model is represented by cohesive zone model, which needs bond strength and bond stiffness in normal and shear directions. To get a reasonable estimate of the bond stiffness, a detailed finite element model of a fiber bond was used. Additionally, the effect of different fiber and bond geometries on bond stiffness were examined by this model since the previous work  indicated that the bond stiffness can have a considerable effect on dry strength of paper. The network simulation results show that the effect of the strength additive comes through improving the bond strength primarily. Furthermore, with the considered sheet structure, both the fiber bond compliance and the number of bonds affect the stiffness of paper. Finally, the results of the analyses indicated that the AFM measurements of the fiber adhesion could not be used directly to relate the corresponding changes in the bond strength. The fiber bond simulation concluded that fiber wall thickness has the most significant effect on the fiber bond compliance. It was also affected by micro-fibril orientation angle, bond orientation and the degree of pressing.
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