ACS Omega. 2022 Sep 1;7(36):32717-32726. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.2c04398. eCollection 2022 Sep 13.
Handmade papers (HPs) are fabricated from fibrous biomass of Lokta bushes and other plant species following traditional eco-friendly method in Nepal. Although HP fabricated from Lokta bushes is believed to be durable and resistant to bugs and molds, material properties of this paper are not reported in literature. In this study, we measured several material properties of 10 handmade Lokta paper samples collected from local enterprises and paper industries. The mean caliper, grammage, apparent density, equilibrium moisture content, Cobb 60, brightness, opacity, tensile strength, and tensile index values in the paper samples ranged from ∼90 to 700 μm, 50 to 150 g/m2, 0.2 to 0.4 g/cm3, 4 to 7%, 50 to 400 g/m2, 56 to 67%, 83 to 98%, 30 to 2900 N/m, and 1 to 27 Nm/g, respectively. These properties suggested that the HPs are lightweight papers with intermediate to high strength. The tensile strength was found to be significantly higher along the length direction (p < 0.05). Characteristic features of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin were observed in FTIR spectra. The crystalline and amorphous phases were also identified in X-ray diffraction (XRD) data. Electron microscopy images revealed a nicely cross-linked network of intact fibers having almost parallel arrangement of microfibrils. These features could provide strength and durability to the paper samples. Understanding the material properties of HPs down to the sub-microscopic level may help improve the paper quality and find novel applications in the future.