Communications Project

Document Type:Master's Thesis
Name:Steven Donald Barber
Title:Analysis and Prevention of Usable Fiber Loss From a Fine Paper Mill
Degree:Master of Science
Department:Civil/Environmental Engineering
Committee Chair: John T. Novak
Committee Members:William R. Knocke, Co-Chair
Gregory D. Boardman
Keywords:Pulp and Paper, Fiber Loss, Fiber Recovery, Stock Preparation, Centrifugal Cleaner Cones
Date of defense:September, 17, 1998
Availability:Release the entire work for Virginia Tech access only.
After one year release worldwide only with written permission of the student and the advisory committee chair.


Reducing losses of usable waste fiber from paper mills conserves valuable resources and has the capacity to produce considerable economic returns to the manufacturer. The purpose of this research effort was to evaluate the potential for the prevention of loss and/or recovery of usable waste fiber from paper machines within a fine paper mill. Further, a preliminary evaluation of fiber loss prevention strategies and fiber recovery technologies was conducted.

The paper mill in question experienced losses of usable waste fiber to the sewer in amounts approaching, and sometimes exceeding 40 tons/day. An existing database of usable fiber test results was analyzed to determine patterns of fiber loss. Further testing showed that the most significant fiber losses resulted from centrifugal cleaner cones. These cones, designed to remove foreign material from stock, are one step in a series of mechanical cleaning devices in the stock preparation area of the paper mill. Cleaner cone systems on two of the paper machines were found to contribute most significantly to total fiber loss.

Contrary to cleaner cone design, the dirt content of fiber rejects from cones experiencing excessive loss was very low. Cleaner cones on other machines operated normally. These rejects were extremely dirty and quantities of fiber were low. These results indicate poor operating efficiency of two of the cleaner cone systems in question. By adding cones where space is available, system capacity and efficiency will increase, fiber losses will decrease, and the dirt content of rejects will increase. This will result in substantial resource and financial savings to the paper mill.

Technologies have been developed to recover usable fiber from paper mill sludge. However, prior to further investigation of the use of such innovations at this paper mill, efforts should focus on the reduction of fiber loss from point sources.

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