Chemical and Biological Engineering Department
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The objective of the Paper Surface Science Program at the University of Maine is to train graduate students in performing scientific research on projects of value to the sponsoring industries.

The program seeks to develop fundamental and applied knowledge about paper surface treatment processes (sizing, coating, printing, gluing...) and structure-performance relationships in the products.


The research is performed by graduate students (MSc. and Ph.D.), postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists under the guidance of the faculty. Some projects are carried out with scientists from sponsoring companies.
The research program covers paper surface treatment from the process to the product. It is centered around two main areas:

1. Fluid-Paper Interactions in Surface Treatments

Current projects include investigations of the rheology of non-Newtonian suspensions; modeling of the setting of coatings and adhesives on paper; interactions between coating and basestock; ink film leveling. Particular attention is given to the effect of water, particularly, the roughening phenomenon, examined in the Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope and with special equipment designed and built for this purpose.

New projects will examine the transfer and setting of ink in printing; and the filming process of solution or emulsion polymers in surface sizing applications.

2. Physics and Chemistry of Paper Surfaces

Projects in this area investigate the mechanisms involved in the development of the porous structure of pigmented coatings during drying; the relationships between bulk and surface structural characteristics and optical properties of gloss and light-scattering; the processes of wetting and spreading of latexes on pigment and cellulosic surface; the factors determining adhesion and cohesion in coated papers; the influence of pigmentation and of the type of binder on the surface chemistry and the surface energy of pigmented coatings.

New projects will attempt to characterize the microscopic stress-strain behavior of paper coatings; and the dimensional stability of coated paper, a 3-layer composite.


Each company appoints a member to the Advisory Board. The Advisory Board meets once a year to review the overall research program and set directions for new projects. An annual report is distributed at that time to each advisory board member.
In addition, a workshop is organized in the Spring to give the Board members, their company associates and the graduate students, an opportunity for in-depth discussion of each research project.


Through their input in the Advisory Board, companies have the opportunity to:

Interact with graduate students as prospects for potential employment.
Influence the direction of the research by helping define priorities and specific projects.
Review, semi-annually, all PSSP projects. This review often gives industrial representatives new ideas for their companies.
Interact with scientists from other sponsoring companies.
Preview all PSSP publications prior to submission to journals and conferences. This preview assures sponsors of receiving the technical information well before general publication.
Receive free copies of software developed and first-hand look at new testing methods.
Make joint publications with graduate students and faculty. Recognition of support at conference presentations.
Have priority access to researchers, laboratory and pilot plant equipment used in the program, for use in proprietary projects at half the normal fee.

The Paper Surface Science Program is like an academic community focused on paper coating, sizing and printing.

[ About Us | Personnel | Industrial Sponsors | Projects | Equipment and Facilities | Contact us | Other Links ]

Updated January ,2016