Paper is a thin material produced by pressing together moist fibres of cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets. The word “paper” is etymologically derived from Latin papyrus, which comes from the Greek πάπυρος (papuros), the word for the Cyperus papyrus plant.

History of paper

Paper types

Paper is a versatile material with many uses, including writing, printing, packaging, cleaning, and a number of industrial and construction processes. Key concerns are: weight, bulk and thickness; surface and interaction with inks and printing techniques; stability over time.

Paper sizes

In Europe and most of the world ISO (International Standard Organisation) metric system is used. In UK this is used alongside the Imperial System. In US measurements are based on inches.

Papermaking processes

The modern pulp and paper industry is global, with China leading its production and the United States right behind it. There are companies developing more sustainable and environmentally-friendly was of mass producing paper using sustainable sources of raw and recycled materials, less toxic chemicals and lower energy requirements. Though in countries like India labour health concerns remain.

Industrial papermaking

There has also been a resurgence of interest in handmade papermaking to recycle paper and for art papers. There has also been considerable interest in traditional Asian and African papermaking processes, and ways of developing handmade papers as an income resource for poorer people.

Handmade papermaking

Asian and African handmade paper