News and events - Tampere University of Technology

Novel paper-based packaging to replace plastics

Paper and paperboard are the most widely used packaging materials in the world. This is due to their renewability, biodegradability, recyclability, sustainability and excellent printability.

However, paper packaging is inferior to plastics in respect to moisture sensitivity and its limited ability to be converted into advanced 3D shapes. The ability of paper and paperboard to be formed into 3D shapes is called formability. In fixed blank forming processes formability is governed by the extensibility of paper.

The primary objective of MSc (Tech) Alexey Vishtal’s dissertation was to improve the formability of paper by increasing its extensibility. Additional objectives were the characterization of formability as a mechanical property of paper and the development of a testing platform for the evaluation of formability.

The formability (extensibility) of paper was improved using a set of methods which included the mechanical treatment of fibres, spraying of agar and gelatine, in-plane compaction of paper, and unrestrained drying. The extensibility of paper was increased from 4% points (untreated fibres) to 15–18% points (mechanical treatment and addition of polymers), and up to 30% (in one direction) after compaction. This corresponds to tray-like shapes with a depth of 2–3 cm, depending on the curvature. Such values of formability are the highest reported so far in scientific literature.

This approach allows the production of a paper-based material with unmatched formability, which can replace certain types of plastic packaging. The replacement of plastics with paper reduces the harmful environmental impact of non-degradable and non-renewable packaging.

Public defence of a doctoral dissertation on Thursday, 4 June 2015

The doctoral dissertation of MSc (Tech) Alexey Vishtal in the field of materials science titled “Formability of paper and its improvement” will be publicly examined at the Faculty of Engineering Sciences of Tampere University of Technology (TUT) in room K1702 in the Konetalo building (address: Korkeakoulunkatu 6, Tampere, Finland) at 12:00 on Thursday, 4 June 2015. The opponents will be Professor Emeritus Henry Lindell (Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland) and Professor Sören Östlund (Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden). Professor Jurkka Kuusipalo from the Paper Converting and Packaging Laboratory at TUT will act as Chairman.

Alexey Vishtal (27) comes from Lausanne, Switzerland, and works as a packaging specialist at the Nestlé Research Centre. The thesis work was prepared at VTT Graduate School during Vishtal’s employment at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. in 2011-2015 under the instruction of Dr. Elias Retulainen.


News submitted by: Sara Riihimäki
Keywords: science and research, doctoral dissertation, väitöstiedote