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Explore the Challenges

The Challenge: Make Paper and Ink



Many different plants and materials have been used to make paper and ink over the centuries. What would our scientists use from the island to make theirs and would they be able to produce a clean sheet and colored inks in just three days?

What is paper and how is it made?

Paper is made from cellulose. All plant matter is composed in part from cellulose fiber but the amount varies between plants. The reason why plant material is so suitable for making paper lies in the molecular structures of cellulose and water. Water molecules are made up of one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms. The hydrogen atom on one molecule can chain onto the oxygen atom of another molecule causing an effect called 'surface tension'. This chaining process is the key to making paper.

Water Molecule