A multi-scale simulation method for the prediction of edge wicking in multi-ply paperboard

T. Johnson, A. Mark, J. Nyström, S. Rief, M. Fredlund, M. Rentzhog, U. Nyman, J. Tryding, R. Lai, L. Martinsson, K. Wester and F. Edelvik. Nordic Pulp & Paper Research Journal, 2015, 30(4), 640-650


When liquid packaging board is made aseptic in the filling machine the unsealed edges of the board are exposed to a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide. A high level of liquid penetration may lead to aesthetic as well as functional defects. To be able to make a priori predictions of the edge wicking properties of a certain paperboard material is therefore of great interest to the paper industry as well as to packaging manufacturers. In this paper an extended multi-scale model of edge wicking in multi-ply paperboard is presented. The geometric and physical properties of the paperboard are modeled on the micro-scale, and include fillers and fines. The absolute air  permeabilities and pore size distributions are validated with experimental and tomographic values. On the macro-scale random porosity and sizing distributions, time and sizing dependent contact angles, and inter-ply dependence are modeled. Arbitrary shapes of the paperboard are handled through an unstructured 3D surface mesh. Stationary and transient edge wicking simulations are validated against experiments with excellent agreement. The simulations show that the diffusive menisci between the liquid and air phases together with the two-ply model is necessary to achieve good agreement with the transient edge wicking experiments.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomas Johnson, Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centre, Sweden
  • Andreas Mark, Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centre, Sweden
  • Johan Nyström, Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centre, Sweden
  • Stefan Rief, Fraunhofer ITWM, Germany
  • Mats Fredlund, Stora Enso Packaging, Sweden
  • Maria Rentzhog, Stora Enso Packaging, Sweden
  • Ulf Nyman, Tetra Pak Packaging Solutions AB, Sweden
  • Johan Tryding, Tetra Pak Packaging Solutions AB, Sweden
  • Ron Lai, Akzo Nobel Pulp and Performance Chemicals AB, Sweden
  • Lars Martinssson, Albany International, Sweden
  • Kenneth Wester, Albany International, Sweden
  • Fredrik Edelvik, Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centre, Sweden


Photo credits: Nic McPhee