The manufacturing of low-density paper such as tissue and towel typically involves a key operation called creping. In this process, the wet web is continuously pressed onto the hot surface of a rotating cylinder sprayed with adhesive chemicals, dried in place, and then scraped off by a doctor blade. The scraping process produces periodic microfolds in the web, which enhance the bulk, softness, and absorbency of the final tissue products. Various parameters affect the creping process and finding the optimal combination is currently limited to costly full-scale experiments. In this paper, we apply a one-dimensional (1D) particle dynamics model to systematically study creping. The web is modeled as a series of discrete particles connected by viscoelastic elements. A mixed-mode discrete cohesive zone model (CZM) is embedded to describe the failure of the adhesive layer. Self-contact of the web is incorporated in the model using a penalty method. Our simulation results delineate three typical stages during the formation of a microfold: interfacial delamination, web buckling, and post-buckling deformation. The effects of key control parameters on creping are then studied. The creping angle and the web thickness are found to have the highest impact on creping. An analytical solution for the maximum creping force applied by the blade is derived and is found to be consistent with the simulation. The proposed model is shown to be able to capture the mechanism of crepe formation in the creping process and may provide useful insights into the manufacturing of tissue paper.

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