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In Materials (Basel, Switzerland) ; h5-index 0.0

Paper, a web of interconnected cellulose fibres, is widely used as a base substrate. It has been applied in several applications since it features interesting properties, such as renewability, biodegradability, recyclability, affordability and mechanical flexibility. Furthermore, it offers a broad possibility to modify its surface properties toward specifics additives. The fillers retention and the fibres bonding ability are heavily affected by the cellulose refining process that influences chemical and morphological features of the fibres. Several refining theories were developed in order to determine the best refining conditions. However, it is not trivial to control the cellulose refining as different phenomena occur simultaneously. Therefore, it is intuitively managed by experienced papermakers to improve paper structures and properties. An approach based on the machine learning aimed at estimating the effects of refining on the fibres morphology is proposed in this study. In particular, an artificial neural network (ANN) was implemented and trained with experimental data to predict the fibres length as a function of refining process variables. The prediction of this parameter is crucial to obtain a high-performance process in terms of effectiveness and the optimisation of the final product performance as a function of the process parameter. To achieve these results, data mining of the experimental patterns collected was exploited. It led to the achievement of excellent performance and high accuracy in fibres length prediction.

Almonti Daniele, Baiocco Gabriele, Tagliaferri Vincenzo, Ucciardello Nadia


artificial neural networks, cellulose fibres processing, machine learning, process management, refining optimisation