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Chemistry science fair project:
Can more expensive paper towels retain more water and are stronger?




Science Fair Project Information
Title: Test whether more expensive paper towels can retain more water and are stronger
Subject: Chemistry
Grade level: Elementary School - Grades 4-6
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Experimental
Cost: Low
Awards: 2nd place, Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair (2010)
Affiliation: Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair
Description: To test for absorption, paper towels were placed in a bowls, with same quantity of water, for one minute. The paper towels were taken out and the water level of the remaining water was recorded.
Link: http://www.virtualsciencefair.org/2010/bondxa2
Short Background

Paper Towels

A paper towel (also called kitchen roll) is an absorbent textile made from paper instead of cloth. Unlike cloth towels, paper towels are disposable and intended to be used only once. Paper towels soak up water because they are loosely woven which enables water to travel between them, even against gravity. Paper towels can be individually packed (as stacks of folded towels or held coiled). Paper towels have almost the same purposes as conventional towels, such as drying hands, wiping windows, dusting and cleaning up spills and home-cleaning. They are most commonly known for being used in kitchen. Because paper towels are disposable, they are often chosen to avoid the spreading of germs.

Paper is made from either virgin or recycled paper pulp which is extracted from wood or fiber crops. They are sometimes bleached during the production process to make the color whiter. It is not uncommon for rolls of paper towels to include intricate colored images on each square (such as flowers or teddy bears). Resin size is used to improve the wet strength. Patterns of shapes such as circles or diamonds are often imprinted into the paper towels to help it hold moisture. Manufacturers use the pattern of the material, microscopic spaces within the pattern, and a type of cellulose in the fibers in order to maximize absorption. Most rolls are manufactured with two layers of paper, but different types can have more layers. They are classified by their key properties such as strength, absorbency, weight, and thickness. Paper towels are packed individually and sold as stacks, or are held on a continuous roll. Colored paper towels were introduced 30 years ago and come in two distinct classes, domestic and institutional.

Paper towels were first made by Arthur Scott from a cartload of rejected toilet paper. He perforated them into small towel-size sheets and sold them as the first disposable paper towels. Scott was also the first to introduce the paper towel for kitchens, in 1931.

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_towel

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

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