knic.mitch96
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Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 3:50 pm
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Making Paper out of Grass

Postby knic.mitch96 » Sat Sep 17, 2011 3:23 pm

Hi, my name is Kristi.
So, I've always had this idea of making paper out o grass/leaves instead of wood. I'm a sophmore and this year I would like to use that idea for my science fair. I'm wondering if it's possible to make paper out of grass. And if so, how would I do it? Would I have to add any chemicals (glues, etc) to the pulp? Is this experiment do-able? Thank you for the help :)

donnahardy2
Former Expert
Posts: 2671
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:45 pm

Re: Making Paper out of Grass

Postby donnahardy2 » Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:21 am

Hi Kristi,

This is an excellent idea for a science project! You need to be careful in designing this project because if you just follow directions and make some paper out of grass, it may appear to be a demonstration of a craft project, but if you learn about the chemistry and design a carefully controlled experiment to answer a question, and if you include a quantitative anlaysis of the paper you make, you will have a really good science project. Here are some ideas for making this an outstanding project.

First, you need to learn about the chemistry of pulp and paper making. Here is one website to give you an example. You should do additional internet searches using “chemistry of paper making,” "pulp making," and “Kraft process. ” to find additional information. You will also need to find out the difference in the chemical composition of wood chips, which are usually used for papermaking, and grass. Look for references from scientific sources and read as much as you can so you will become an expert on the science of papermaking.

http://www.trueart.info/paper_chemistry.htm

While you are doing your background reading and thinking about a possible experiment, you also need to think about how you will test your paper. Ideally for a science project, you want something that is quantitative. Here is a list of 50 different standard tests that can be done to evaluate paper quality. You will just need one or two tests for your project.

http://www.kalpaperchem.com/p-lab.htm

You will find that papermaking is a vast topic, so try to focus on finding one specific experiment to do.

Here is some practical information for making paper. What materials are you going to need for your project? These websites will help you develop the list of materials you will need for the project.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAl_7IDYfVc

http://www.papermaking.net/how-to-make- ... ass-paper/

http://www.swe.org/iac/lp/paper_01.html

Here is the Science Buddies website guide for doing a science project. I have given suggestions for doing background reading so that you can develop the question that will be answered by your experiment on papermaking.

http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... ndex.shtml

Finally, you do not have to limit your interest in this topic to a science project. Here are some ideas for careers in paper making from the American Chemical Society:

http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/c ... 881ede2567


So, what is your question for your science project? Let us know if you need more help in getting started.


Donna Hardy

knic.mitch96
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 3:50 pm
Occupation: student

Re: Making Paper out of Grass

Postby knic.mitch96 » Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:23 am

Hello Donna,
Thank you so much for your help. The links you posted were very helpful :)
I decided that I will test papers made of different plants for their bursting and tensile strength. Once I start my project, I am planning on emailing the website you gave me (http://www.kalpaperchem.com/p-lab.htm#inlab) and asking them if they could possibly let me borrow their equipment or if I could send them some samples of paper and ask them to test it for me. Do you think this is a good idea?

I'm not entirely sure which plants I will use to make the paper itself. Do you think I should grow it or just use some grass from my backyard. I'm thinking about using cotton, however I am not sure if I will be able to find cotton with the lignin still in it. Also, on the link you sent me, http://www.trueart.info/paper_chemistry.htm, it says that all lignin must be removed and the paper should be neutralized. How would I remove the lignin? Will I have to use an acid? Will I have to do anything else to the paper after the acid to fix it. For the nuetralizing, I found this http://www.dickblick.com/products/arnold-grummers-acid-phree-additive/ which I think will be helpful.

Thank you for your help :)
Kristi

donnahardy2
Former Expert
Posts: 2671
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:45 pm

Re: Making Paper out of Grass

Postby donnahardy2 » Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:46 pm

Hi Kristi,

The web site that gives directions for making paper out of grass suggests adding baking soda and boiling the grass for an hour and soaking it overnight to delignify it. The traditional Kraft process used by paper mills uses sodium hydroxide and sodium sulfide to separate the lignin from the cellulose fibers that are needed to make paper. You could do a preliminary trial run using baking soda and see if the method works; the sodium hydroxide and sodium sulfite might work a little faster, but would not be as safe to work with.

I think it's a really good idea to contact the company that does paper testing. They certainly look like they have experts on this subject. However, I think I would try to get information on how you could do the testing on your own if at all possible. Perhaps you could make a simple device that could be used for testing for bursting and tensile strength. Let me know what type of response you get from the company.

Your question about using the acid phree additive is a good one; however, using this would add another variable to your experiment. You need to decide what your research question is first, so I would hold off on deciding to use any additives. Your question will also help you decide which grass to use; I don't think you would need to grow your own grass; just collect lawn clippings. Do you want to compare paper quality using different types of grass, or do you want to compare different methods of making paper out of one type of grass?


Donna Hardy


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