Cellulosic fiber interfaces are critical to the material properties of paper. Likewise, the presence of water in a paper sheet is an important property, because paper is a wet-laid structure and the cellulosic fibers that compose it are hygroscopic. This work uses a fluorescence microscopy technique established by the authors to study the development of individual bleached kraft pulp fiber crossings in situ during drying and through a cycle of rewetting and wet pressing. The results indicate that coalescence of the fiber-fiber interface occurs during drying and that the fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) response, which is proportional to the distance between fiber components, increases logarithmically with time. The FRET signal of once-dried fiber crossings increases dramatically after rewetting and wet pressing for a second time. This indicates that fiber bonds are still compliant after a single drying cycle and that the interactions between fiber components are likely reversible at the solids content present in bleached kraft pulp fiber crossings dried at 25°C and 50% relative humidity.
©2008 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York