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Name: Bob R.
Status: other
Age: 50s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 12/12/2004

What ingredient besides paper do most paper towels have? This is a question from a student in my fifth grade classroom.

In addition to cellulose fibers (what 5th graders will think of as paper), paper towels that are printed contain colored pigments to produce the color, some brands contain a low level of a low foaming surface active substance to make water absorb more rapidly but without foaming, and a low level of binder (glue -- that keeps the fibers from falling apart when they become wet). This provides a modest amount of so called "wet strength". Some more expensive brands will also contain an additive that will make the paper towel feel "soft" rather than "rough". Even the lowly paper towel is a pretty highly engineered product!!

Vince Calder

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