I've recently begun studying about waterproofing paper. Through what I learned is that the reason why paper absorbs water so easily is mainly because of it's material composition. Paper is generally made from plant fibers and these fibers in turn are made of Cellulose. These Cellulose molecules make it possible for water to be absorbed by the paper easily due to adhesion.

Basically, the network of fibers in the paper are filled with empty spaces and when the paper comes in direct exposure to water, the water molecules eventually fill up those empty holes, attract themselves through the Cellulose molecules and penetrates through the whole material. Which soaks up the paper and degrades it.

One way to solve the problem of soaked paper is through waterproofing the paper. Coating it with wax or plastic and forming a thin layer of plastic or wax which prevents water molecules in penetrating the material when the paper is exposed to water.

This water proofing concept makes it look easy to water proof paper, but the problem comes in recycling or when the paper is disposed off. When recycling paper, every bit of its fibers is disassembled but if for an instance the coating of a water proofed paper is too tight, the paper then becomes unrecyclable and become of waste. Since disassembling tightly glued on fibers could eventually destroy the material.

One evident problem here is that the coating hinders the recyclability of the paper because of its reaction with it. In conclusion, the points to be made aware off is that in order to make an effective waterproof paper but at the same time recyclable as well. Is to coat a paper with a specific type of resin/coating that has an effect of tightly bonding the fibers but at the same time easy to disassemble.

Through this understanding, I've been researching on other coating materials that could eventually be effective in water proofing. I've been trying to research on organic resins such as from trees if they would be effective. Are there any effective chemicals or resins out there that would generally be good?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This doesn't answer your question directly, but there are other means of improving the wet strength of paper without fully waterproofing. $\endgroup$ – airhuff Nov 16 '17 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ You shouldn't expect research quality material on stackexchange $\endgroup$ – Vedant Nov 18 '17 at 7:08
  • $\begingroup$ @airhuff I've looked into it but I think having the paper soaked would alter its mechanical properties which would be different from waterproofing $\endgroup$ – Czar Luc Nov 18 '17 at 7:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Vedant I just thought posting in to stackexchange could help me think of a material that would be ideal for the said research since I do not have wide knowledge about chemistry. $\endgroup$ – Czar Luc Nov 18 '17 at 7:44
  • $\begingroup$ @CzarLuc not a problem, but usually when something hasn't been researched, people don't research it just for an answer :) $\endgroup$ – Vedant Nov 18 '17 at 7:48

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