The Everlasting Wonder Of Acid-free Paper

Before the invention of contemporary paper, the main reason that animal skin was treated and used as paper was that it was practically indestructible. With the passage of time, parchment paper made of animal hide would remain more or less the same, preserving the art documents it bears. 

Traditionally, the paper used to be made from wood, bamboo fibers, and water. Today the major ingredients remain cellulose fibers, wood pulp water mixed with some bleach to make the paper whiter. Wood contains a chemical compound called lignin which when mixed with bleach for the refining process ends up becoming hydrochloric acid over time. This acid changes the basic chemical structure of the paper and is mainly responsible for the way the paper becomes yellow. Newspapers are the best example of this process as they are made as cheaply as possible, making it turn brittle and yellowish quickly. 

An Introduction To Acid-Free Paper

With the passage of time and the invention of contemporary paper, the usage of animal skin was discontinued and discouraged. But in order to preserve any document or art, the regular paper would just not hold up. This is why the acid-free paper was developed. 

This goes without saying that a process for creating such a paper that is suitable for preservation is as expensive as it is complex. Regular paper is first treated thoroughly to remove an acid contributing compound called lignin. For the next step, the paper is treated with soda ash also known as calcium carbonate to make it pH neutral or slightly alkaline. The resulting paper which is now alkaline will be resistant to environmental and acidic damage. 

The product that results from this procedure is also better at holding colors as well as ink, making it highly durable.  

The Difference Between Acid Paper And Archival Paper

Archival paper is an acid-free paper that does not contain any ground wood for pulp that is unbleached along with strictly restricted metallic content and absence of brightening agents that make the sheet whiter. Archival paper made of 100% cotton fibers along with an acid-free surface is the ultimate permanent paper, lasting over a 1000 years. 

So, we now know that although all archival paper is acid-free, Not all acid paper is archival paper.  

The Need For Acid-Free Archival Paper

The short answer is for the sole purpose of preservation of art and documents. 

To explain, know that most of your work that is on paper will be exposed to environmental factors such as heat, humidity, and light. As the heat and the light increases, the damage on the paper is exponentially faster. The paper can turn yellow and may even develop a mold in case of high humidity. Acid-free archival paper is an extremely durable paper lasting for 1000 years without bearing any damage.  

Acid-Free Or Archival Paper? 

Following a simple rule of thumb, if you wish to store anything made out of paper for long periods of time, you must choose acid-free paper. Artists who wish to improve the lives of their artwork can use acid-free archival paper to make and store their important artwork. 

Many official documents are printed over the acid-free paper so that they will serve their purpose as long as it's needed. The first print of any important piece of work is made of acid-free paper. Anything that comes in contact with acidic paper will also turn acidic, for example, photographs, documents, etc. 

The major use of acid-free paper is to reduce the potential damage to your paper-based artwork and important papers. Storing your important art and work in a dark area with low temperature can further slow down a lot of destructive processes that harm the paper. 

Thankfully, Thunderbolt paper brings easily accessible acid-free paper to your doorstep so that you can make your words or artwork immortal without any hassle. Any piece of work that is exemplary of your hard work and talent that needs to survive the tide of time must be made using acid-free paper. What would you like to have made permanent with acid-free paper?