5
$\begingroup$

When I spill water on paper and then the paper dries/the water evaporates, the paper is extremely stiff and crinkly (makes noise when moved).

Why is this? I understand that water breaks hydrogen bonds in between cellulose fibers in paper making it easy to rip, but when it dries, why is it stronger?

$\endgroup$
6
$\begingroup$

Great question. Wetting leads to a collapse of the cellulose fiber network. When dried, the deformed, "squashed" fibers are in greater contact than they were pre-wetting, and hence give rise to a dense, stiff mesh. A more thorough discussion is in this paper:

"Why does paper get stronger as it dries?" Alvaro Tejado and Theo G.M.van de Ven, Materials Today, 13, September 2010, Pages 42-49.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.