Paperboard is a thick paper-based material. While there is no rigid
differentiation between paper and paperboard, paperboard is generally
thicker (usually over 0.30 mm, 0.012 in, or 12 points) than paper
and has certain superior attributes such as foldability and rigidity.
According to ISO standards, paperboard is a paper with a grammage
above 250 g/m2, but there are exceptions.
Paperboard can be single-
Paperboard can be easily cut and formed, is lightweight, and because
it is strong, is used in packaging. Another end-use is high quality
graphic printing, such as book and magazine covers or postcards.
Paperboard is also used in fine arts for creating sculptures.
Sometimes it is referred to as cardboard, which is a generic, lay term
used to refer to any heavy paper pulp–based board, however this
usage is deprecated in the paper, printing and packaging industries as
it does not adequately describe each product type.
2 Terminology and classification
3.1 Raw materials
5 Common terms
7 See also
9 Further reading
10 External links
In 1817, the first paperboard carton was produced in England. Folding
cartons first emerged around the 1860s and were shipped flat to save
space, ready to be set up by customers when they were required. 1879
saw the development of mechanical die cutting and creasing of blanks.
In 1911 the first kraft sulphate mill was built in Florida. In 1915
the gable top milk carton was patented and in 1935 the first dairy
plant was observed using them. Ovenable paperboard was introduced in
Terminology and classification
Cigarette pack made of folding boxboard.
Terminology and classifications of paperboard are not always uniform.
Differences occur depending on specific industry, locale, and personal
choice. In general, the following are often used:
Boxboard or cartonboard: paperboard for folding cartons and rigid
Folding boxboard (FBB): a bending grade capable of being scored and
bending without fracture
Chipboard: a recycled, low quality board
White lined chipboard
White lined chipboard (WLC): a white, often clay-coated chipboard
Kraft board: a strong virgin fiber board often used for beverage
carriers. Often clay-coated for printing
Laminated board: a lamination of paperboards and other materials, for
example liquid packaging board
Solid bleached board
Solid bleached board (SBB) or solid bleached sulphate (SBS): clean
white board used for foods etc. Sulphate refers to the kraft process
Solid unbleached board
Solid unbleached board (SUB): board made from unbleached chemical pulp
Containerboard: a type of paperboard manufactured for the production
of corrugated fiberboard
Corrugated medium: the inner fluted portion of corrugated fiberboard
Linerboard: a strong stiff board for one or both sides of corrugated
boxes. It is the flat covering over the corrugating medium.
Binder's board: a paperboard used in bookbinding for making
Fibrous material is turned into pulp (paper)/pulp and bleaching of
wood bleached, to create one or more layers of board, which can be
optionally coated for a better surface and/or improved visual
appearance. pulp board are produced on pulping machines that can
handle higher grammage and several plies.
The above-mentioned fibrous material can either come from fresh
(virgin) sources (e.g. wood) or from recycled waste paper. Around 90%
of virgin paper is made from wood pulp. Today paperboard packaging
in general, and especially products from certified sustainable
sources, are receiving new attention, as manufacturers dealing with
environmental, health, and regulatory issues look to renewable
resources to meet increasing demand. It is now mandatory in many
countries for paper-based packaging to be manufactured wholly or
partially from recycled material.
Raw materials include:
Hardwood: C. 0.05 inches (1.3 mm) in length e.g.
Birch which has
short fibres. It is generally more difficult to work with; however, it
does provide higher tensile strength, but lower tear and other
strength properties. Although its fibres are not as long and strong as
those in softwood, they make for a stiffer product defined by some
Hardwood fibres fill the sheet better and therefore
make a smoother paper that is more opaque and better for printing.
Hardwood makes an excellent corrugating medium.
Softwood: C. 0.13 inches (3.3 mm) in length e.g.
Pine and spruce
which have typically long fibres and make superior paperboard in
services where strength is important.
Softwood makes excellent
Recycled: Used paper is collected and sorted and usually mixed with
virgin fibres in order to make new material. This is necessary as the
recycled fibre often loses strength when reused; the added virgin
fibres enhance strength. Mixed waste paper is not usually deinked
(skipping the deinking stage) for paperboard manufacture and hence the
pulp may contain traces of inks, adhesives, and other residues which
together give it a grey colour. Products made of recycled board
usually have a less predictable composition and poorer functional
properties than virgin fibre-based boards. Health risks have been
associated with using recycled material in direct food contact. Swiss
studies have shown that recycled material can contain significant
portions of mineral oil, which may migrate into packed foods.
Mineral oil levels of up to 19.4 mg/kg were found in rice packed
in recycled board.
Others: It is also possible to use the fibres of Sugarcane Bagasse,
Straw, Hemp, Cotton, Flax, Kenaf,
Abaca and other plant products
Main article: Pulp (paper)
Two principal methods for extracting fibres from their sources are:
Chemical pulping uses chemical solutions to convert wood into pulp,
yielding around 30% less than mechanical pulping; however, pulp made
by the kraft process has superior strength
Thermo mechanical pulp
Thermo mechanical pulp is a two-stage process which results in a very
high yield of wood fibres at the expense of strength.
Main article: Bleaching of wood pulp
Pulp used in the manufacture of paperboard can be bleached to decrease
colour and increase purity. Virgin fibre pulp is naturally brown in
colour, because of the presence of lignin. Recycled paperboard may
contain traces of inks, bonding agents and other residue which colors
it grey. Although bleaching is not necessary for all end-uses, it is
vital for many graphical and packaging purposes. There are various
methods of bleaching, which are used according to a number of factors
for example, the degree of colour change required, chemicals chosen
and method of treatment. There are three categories of bleaching
Bleaching by delignification using chlorine gas, which is a method
that has been largely replaced by procedures which are gentler to the
environment such as the use of oxygen as a replacement for the
Bleaching by oxidation using chemicals such as chlorine dioxide,
hydrogen peroxide or sodium hypochlorite.
Bleaching by reduction using chemicals such as sodium bisulphite.
(1) single-ply vs. (2) multi-ply
Multi-ply paperboard generally has higher creasing and folding
performance than single-ply as a result of layering different types of
pulp into a single product. In cases where the same kind of pulp is
being used in several layers, each separate layer is treated and
shaped individually in order to create the highest possible
In order to improve whiteness, smoothness and gloss of paperboard, one
or more layers of coating is applied.
Coated paper is usually made up
a pigment, which could be china clay, calcium carbonate or titanium
dioxide, usually a combination of two
an adhesive or binder as styrene-butadiene emulsions or starches and
Additional components could be OBA (optical brightening agents).
The DIN Standard 19303 "
Paperboard - Terms and grades" (Publication
date : 2005-09) defines different grades of paperboard based on
the surface treatment (first letter), the main furnish (second letter)
and the colour (non-D grade) or bulk (D grade only) (numbering).
A = cast-coated
G = pigment coated
U = uncoated
Z = bleached virgin chemical pulp
C = virgin mechanical pulp
N = unbleached virgin chemical pulp
T = recycled/secondary fibre with white, cream or brown reverse
D = recycled/secondary fibre with grey back
All except D grades:
white reverse side
cream reverse side
brown reverse side
D grades only:
bulk ≥ 1.45 cm2/g
1.3 cm2/g < bulk < 1.45 cm2/g
bulk ≤ 1.3 cm2/g
Example: GC1 would be a "pigment coated", "virgin mechanical pulp"
board with a "white reverse side". Often the used paperboard type
would be FBB, which was coated on both sides.
Basis Weight (US): Is the weight in 1,000 square feet (93 m2) of
Brightness: Brightness is a technical term that is defined as the
amount of blue-white light that a paper reflects. This property is
very subjective and individual to each buyer and end use, as skin
colour and food are better reproduced on ‘warm’ (yellow) whites
and not blue whites.
Grammage: The grammage of the paperboard is assessed in accordance ISO
Grammage expresses mass per unit area and is measured in
PH: Surface pH is measured on a water extract and is on a scale of
0–14. 0 is acidic, 7 is neutral and 14 is alkaline.
Stiffness: Stiffness is one of the most important properties of
paperboard as it affects the ability of cartons to run smoothly
through the machine that erects, fills and closes them. Stiffness also
gives strength and reduces the propensity of a carton to bulge under
the weight of settling flowable contents such as cereals.
Although most paper strength properties increase with increasing sheet
density, stiffness does not. A rule of thumb is that stiffness is
proportional to the 1.6 power of sheet caliper.
The species of fiber used has an effect on stiffness, other things
being equal. Northern softwood species impart superior stiffness
compared to southern softwoods.
Other factors which affect board stiffness include coatings and
Smoothness: Smoothness is particularly important when being used for
printing, the smoother the paperboard, the better the image quality,
because of better ink coverage. Smoothness is measured using air leak
methods – the greater the rate of air leakage, at a specific air
pressure, from under a cylindrical knife placed on the surface, the
rougher the surface.
Caliper/Thickness: In the
United States caliper is usually expressed
in thousandths of an inch (0.001”) or points, where a sheet of
paperboard with a thickness of 0.024” would be 24 points. In Europe
it is often sold in g/m2, however the thickness of the board is
measured in micron (μm).
Paperboard also tends to be referred to with thickness rather than
Whiteness: It refers ideally to the equal presence of all colours,
because a truly white sheet will reflect all wavelengths of visible
The paperboard sector is mainly looked at in conjunction with the
paper industry. The
Paperboard market size (2007) had a
value of 630.9 billion USD and a volume of 320.3 million metric
tons. Of that market 40.1% is European. About 50% of all produced
paper is used for packaging, followed by printing and writing.
According to ProCarton, the consumption of paper and paperboard seem
to correlate with economic trends (GDP). Sales of carton in
Europe sum up to around 8 billion Euros worth. Over 1,100 printers
produce 5.4 million tonnes of cartonboard yearly. Cartons make up one
third of paper and board packaging and 15% of all packaging. A bit
more than half (54%) of the European carton is produced using
recovered fibre or waste paper. The paper and paperboard industry is
quite energy and capital intensive. Just a coated board machine itself
can cost around 90 - 120 million Euros (about 125 - 166 million
USD in 11/2011). Economies of scale apply, because of which a few
large players often dominate the market place. E.g. in North America
the top 5 producers have a market share of 85%.
^ Robertson, Gordon L. (2005). Food
Packaging - Principle and Practice
(2nd Ed.). p. 111. ISBN 978-0-8493-3775-8.
Packaging Alliance. "
Paperboard Packaging" (PDF).
Archived from the original (PDF) on November 21, 2008. Retrieved
^ Soroka, W. Illustrated Glossary of
Packaging Terminology (Second
ed.). Institute of
^ a b c Datamonitor (June 2008). "Global
Industry Profile". access-date= requires url= (help)
^ a b c Iggesund
Paperboard AB (2008). "
Paperboard the Iggesund Way":
^ Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (Germany). "Migration of
mineral oil from packaging materials to foodstuffs (BfR Opinion No.
008/2010 of 2009-12-09)" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-04-21.
^ Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung. "Übergänge von Mineralöl aus
Verpackungsmaterialien auf Lebensmittel" (PDF). Retrieved
^ a b Kirwan, Mark J. (1998).
Paper and paperboard packaging
technology. London: Blackwell Publishing.
^ a b c d e Twede, Diana; Selke, Susan E. M. (2004). "Cartons, Crates
and Corrugated Board: Handbook of
Technology". Lancaster, PA: DasTech Publications.
^ ISO: International Organisation for Standardisation (1995). "Paper
and board -- Determination of grammage". Retrieved 2009-07-18.
Paperboard (2008). "Product Catalogue: General Technical
Information". Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved
^ Dr. Peter Ince (1999–2000). "Paper,
Paperboard and Woodpulp –
Production, Consumption and Trade ECE/FAO Forest Products Annual
Market Review" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 5,
2011. Retrieved 2009-07-18.
Carton (2009). "The
Packaging Fact File: Cartons, Industry
and the Environment" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-07-20.
^ Metso Corporation’s press release (2011). "Metso to supply coated
board line to International
Paper & Sun Cartonboard in China".
Archived from the original on 2011-10-13. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
Brody, A. L., and Marsh, K, S., Encyclopedia of
John Wiley & Sons, 1997, ISBN 0-471-06397-5
Soroka, W., Fundamentals of
Packaging Technology, IoPP, 2002,
TAPPI—Technical Association of the Pulp and
Paper thickness cross reference guide
Disposable food packaging
Modified atmosphere/modified humidity packaging
Bags and flexible containers
Corrugated box design
Flexible intermediate bulk container
Foam food container
Insulated shipping container
Intermediate bulk container
Self-heating food packaging
Linear low-density polyethylene
Liquid packaging board
Screw cap (wine)
Shock and vibration data logger
Temperature data logger
Time temperature indicator
Automatic identification and data capture
Blow fill seal
Die forming (plastics)
Electronic article surveillance
Track and trace
Verification and validation
Extended core stretch wrapper
Injection molding machine
Label printer applicator
Lineshaft roller conveyor
Material handling equipment
Mechanical brake stretch wrapper
Orbital stretch wrapper
Rotary wheel blow molding systems
Turntable stretch wrapper
Vertical form fill sealing machine
Units of paper quantity
Surface chemistry of paper
Manufacture and process
Bleaching of wood pulp
Environmental impact of paper
In the United States
List of paper mills
Glued laminated timber
Oriented strand board
Oriented structural straw board
Structural insulated panel
Ramial chipped wood
List of woods
Non-timber forest products