This project addresses the challenges of producing high-deformable paper for 3D forming applications using the in-plane compaction process. Enabling 3D forming of advanced paper structures paves the way for complete elimination of plastic based packaging or partial replacement of plastic in multi-material packages, which aligns with current international strategies for a sustainable development of the society. In addition, it opens a new avenue of possibilities in packaging solutions, which have never been possible for conventional paper products. The 3D forming technologies impose high demands on the formability of the paper products to the extent none of the current end-use processes does.
By using a unique combination of the state-of-the-art numerical and experimental tools, we aim at investigating the measures, which can be used in order to gain stretchability of the paper products produced by a compaction process and yet maintain sufficient strength and bending stiffness. These measures include modification of fiber bonds and selecting the degree of compaction for a given fiber network structure.
The focus of the work will be on the micro-scale as all the key elements of the macro response stems from it. The fundamental challenges which will be tackled on the microscale have never received sufficient attention due to their overwhelming complexity and limitations of the research tools earlier. The direct outcome of the project will be specific insights about of the micromechanical behavior of paper materials under the compaction process and about the ways to leverage the final properties of the material through adjusting the parameters of the compactions process.