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Subject: "Lignin-free" boxes

"Lignin-free" boxes

From: Jan Paris <jparis<-a>
Date: Thursday, December 1, 1988
NOW, here's the long one... the document cases..i described the tests
i'd done to you and about how i got pos readings for groundwood with the
phluoro, etc. on boxes that were advertised as containing no lignin. so
I called the company and they had their "paper chemist" call me. in
fact, he works for the mill where they make the board. i told him about
my readings and asked him to offer an explanation. (i'm making this very
narrative because it's felt like a saga and also to keep you
interested--hopefully--i find it fascinating, if entirely disturbing)
Back to the story... this is what he said.  he told me that it was a
semantic matter as to whether ere was lignin or not. he explained that
the core material was made of corrugated cardboard and magazine cuttings
that were made into the pulp by only mechanical means, BUT that the
original pulps were semi-chemical and thermo-mechanical. ( this is at
the beginning of the conversation where i guess he thought i wouldn't
understand his "big words") he then said that all this results in the
lignin MOLECULE being broken into smaller pieces and that therefore
semantically they were asserting that it wasn't lignin.  I said, so you
mean bits of lignin molecule are not lignin to you. and he said that is
what they mean. (i never bothered to ask then how mechanical pulping
could work at the molecular level)...he then said that the core was
buffered, which it does appear to be.  and told me that the Nat. Arch
uses the boxes.  so i said thank you, hung up and tried to imagine that
there was something i didn't understand.  i looked at all my notes and
still couldn't seem to understand why his assertion that "the earliest
reactions of the lignin have therefore already occurred" and that was
good and the lignin was therefore rendered impotent (my interp).  so i
asked my paper conservator friend and she seemed to agree with me. so i
called the Archives and talked to Mary Lynn who also agreed with me and
told me that indeed the boxes in question DO NOT meet their specs for a
low-lignin box, but only their acid-free box.  she expressed a similar
frustration with the situation and she will send me their (NARA) specs
for boxes (we're about to order 10,000 soonish) and also have their
paper chemist call me next week to help me understand it a bit better
and more articulately. it REALLY upsets me that they have a full page
chart that says that all layers of the core material have no lignin and
then a NOTE that says that this board is free of lignin.  i wonder if
you have any comments.

                   Conservation DistList Instance 2:8
                 Distributed: Sunday, December 11, 1988
                        Message Id: cdl-2-8-006
Received on Thursday, 1 December, 1988

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