Scanning electron microscopy measurements of the surface roughness of paper

Sujit Banerjee, Rallming Yang, Charles E. Courchene, Terrance E. Conners

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


A new approach to the measurement of x-y uniformity of the surface of a paper sheet is described. Scanning electron micrographs are taken of both the top and bottom surfaces of a paper sheet and image-analyzed. The images were converted to grayscale, and the standard deviation of the pixel brightness was called the "SEM roughness index" and calculated for each surface. Both commercial newsprint sheets and handsheets made with kraft, TMP, and recycled fibers were examined. Debonders and cationic polymers were added to some sheets. The addition of debonders increases the index on the top side of the sheet but decreases it on the bottom. This is caused by the movement of fines from the top to the bottom side. The addition of cationic polymers increases the SEM roughness index by increasing the degree of microfloc formation. Samples taken across a reel from a commercial paper machine tend to show a mirror image relationship between the top and bottom surfaces. The SEM roughness index is able to detect subtle changes in sheet structure caused by differences in the mode of addition of polymers used for retaining fines in the sheet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4322-4325
Number of pages4
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 6 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (all)
  • Chemical Engineering (all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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