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Water Is No Longer the Kryptonite of Paper Ice Bags

by pearliemcilvaine

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Usually, almost anything created with paper turns soft and mushy when it soaks up water or any liquid. Logic would certainly reason that liquid and paper do not exactly mix. But are you aware that there are a number of paper items on the market that will not tear so quickly even when completely drenched?

Paper is anything but unusual when it pertains to carrying wet materials like ice; seeing use as early as the 1950s (probably, even prior to that). Ice bags made from paper do not exactly use the type of paper for notepads. As Dr. Martin Hubbe of North Carolina State University explains, producers of paper ice bags mix a specific chemical that improves the wet strength of the paper considerably. There could be various other methods to do this but Hubbe says this chemical is the main method.

The magic chemical is polyamidoamine-epichlorohydrin (PAAE) resin, a family of water-soluble polymers that's commonly added at a certain point in the process. The resin is most effective when it's added to neutral and alkaline stock (pH levels between 6 and 9) in the course of paper manufacturing. An example of a commercial PAAE resin in the market is Ashland's Kymene.

Hubbe added that the resin could perform even better if cellulose gum (carboxymethyl cellulose) is added to it. Adhering to a cellulose gum-resin ratio of 0.4 to 1.0, the cellulose gum boosts the resin's retention in the stock and enables even more resin to be included in the process. Greater amount of resin will certainly boost the strength of wet paper.

The result is a paper ice bag that will not yield to tearing even when it has taken in a great deal of water from the melting ice. Paper ice bags are preferred by people who want to invest in green solutions to protect the environment. Regular paper ice bags could hold up to 25 pounds of ice but other variants have a greater capability. Ultimately, you have PAAE resin and cellulose gum to give thanks to for making paper ice bags possible.

For more details on common techniques of enhancing the wet durability of paper, you can browse through the NCSU website at For information on mesh bags and some other items, you could ask a local vendor.

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