Pulp is a lignocellulosic fibrous material prepared by chemically or mechanically separating cellulose fibres from wood, fiber crops, waste paper, or rags. Many kinds of paper are made from wood with nothing else mixed into them. This includes newspapers, magazines and even toilet paper. Pulp is one of the most abundant raw materials.
A pulp mill is a manufacturing facility that converts wood chips or other plant fibre source into a thick fibre board which can be shipped to a paper mill for further processing. Pulp can be manufactured using mechanical, semi-chemical or fully chemical methods (kraft and sulfite processes). The finished product may be either bleached or non-bleached, depending on the customer requirements.
A paper machine (or paper-making machine) is an industrial machine which is used in the pulp and paper industry to create paper in large quantities at high speed. Modern paper-making machines are based on the principles of the Fourdrinier Machine, which uses a moving woven mesh to create a continuous paper web by filtering out the fibres held in a paper stock and producing a continuously moving wet mat of fibre. This is dried in the machine to produce a strong paper web.
The pulp produced up to this point in the process can be bleached to produce a white paper product. The chemicals used to bleach pulp have been a source of environmental concern, and recently the pulp industry has been using alternatives to chlorine, such as chlorine dioxide, oxygen, ozone and hydrogen peroxide.
Chemical pulp is produced by combining wood chips and chemicals in large vessels called digesters. There, heat and chemicals break down lignin, which binds cellulose fibres together, without seriously degrading the cellulose fibres. Chemical pulp is used for materials that need to be stronger or combined with mechanical pulps to give a product different characteristics. The kraft process is the dominant chemical pulping method, with the sulfite process second. Historically soda pulping was the first successful chemical pulping method.