The removal of water is an integral part of tissue paper production. Through air drying (TAD) is used for water removal when producing premium tissue grade products, however, at the price of higher energy demand. A better understanding of TAD may therefore lower the energy demand.
The objective was to investigate the influence of formation, pulp type and grammage on non-uniform drying and air flow through sheets. A laboratory method, based on infrared thermography, was used to determine drying time and area-specific and mass-specific drying rates. Air flow rate and pressure drop were used to determine flow resistance and modified permeability.
Pulp type had a large influence on the air flow through the sheet. Modified permeability, i.e. the material property describing the air flow through the fibre network, was strongly dependent on grammage for lower grammages, while it approached a constant value for higher grammages. In contrast to that, mass-specific drying rates were similar for the different pulp types at lower grammages, but proved to be grammage-dependent for higher grammages. Formation did not influence the drying speed to any large extent.
The results illustrate that industrial TAD processes operate under very special process conditions due to the low grammage sheets.