The Challenge: Make Paper and Ink
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is the plant material prepared for paper making?
Plant fibers are separated
either mechanically by pounding the plant material or chemically by
soaking the plant material in a chemical bath. In practice, a combination of mechanical
and chemical pulping is often used.
or wood chips are ground up and mixed with hot water and steam. The heat
softens the lignin, and grinding pulls the fibers apart. This damages the
fibers and makes them shorter and weaker, so paper made this way is not
strong. Mechanical pulping does not remove parts of the plant which are
not cellulose (or other impurities), so this method is usually used for newspaper
and telephone directories.