Date of Award

Summer 8-18-2017

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (MSChE)


Chemical Engineering


Douglas Bousfield

Second Committee Member

Michael Mason

Third Committee Member

Mehdi Tajvidi


Dusting of paper in various printing and processing operations is a common problem. The dusting tendency of a paper is difficult to characterize with standard laboratory methods; there is currently no standard test available. As the trend to create grades with high filler content continues, the issue of dusting will remain important. The goal of this thesis was to explore various methods to characterize the dusting and linting in a laboratory environment with limited samples and time.

Techniques to cause and collect dust are compared that include a tape pull test, a bending test, and an abrasion test. Methods to collect dust are also compared that involve gravity settling of particles, electrostatic collection, and filter methods. The collected samples are imaged using an optical microscope and a flat bed scanner and analyzed using image analysis software. Six grades of commercial paper and three grades of handsheets with various filler loadings are compared and dust is collected from an industrial test and a laser printer.

In comparison with using gravity and electrostatic attraction, air filtration is found to be the best solution for collecting dust. The abrasion of paper against a rod gave the best repeatable results. The bending test measuring edge effects gives results that are significantly different between methods of cutting. The tests using the handsheets are conclusive in that increasing filler loading increases the dusting: all three methods agree with this expected result.

Dust collected from the back panel of a laser printer reveals that one commercial sample had low dusting and two samples had high dusting, compared to the other samples. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) and optical microscope images shows that both fibers and filler particles are present in the dust from the laser printer. No other tests found significant differences between the commercial samples. An increase in dust is found near the outer edges of the laser printer’s guide rail. A test to measure edge effects showed an increase of dusting when paper is cut using the initial factory cut edges versus the edges of paper when cut by a standard benchtop paper cutter. The bending and abrasive test relates to industrial dust test results for particles over 40µm.