Under the Microscope: Toilet Paper

This episode of “Cool Stuff Under the Microscope” focusses on an essential; Toilet paper (of course unused), whilst this episode won’t focus on the use of toilet paper (the Wikipedia article covers that), however, toilet paper is typically made from either new or ‘virgin’ paper; using a combination of both softwood and hardwood trees. Some of the softwood trees (e.g. Southern pines) have long fibres that can wrap around each other which subsequently gives the paper strength, whilst hardwood tree’s (e.g. Gum) have shorter fibres that make the paper softer. A combination of around 70% hardwood and 30% softwood is used, with other materials also being used such as water, chemicals to break the material into usable fibres, and then bleaches.

The following image was captured by analysing a small cut of a single ply piece of toilet paper on a glass slide through the Radical Microscope, with the images being focus stacked into one image (below). Images were captured with a Nikon D5300 Digital camera, with the focus stacking being carried out in Adobe Photoshop, and final editing being carried out in Lightroom.

The focus was slightly off, but the structure is nonetheless fascinating.

As always, if you have any idea’s on things to image under the microscope don’t hesitate to let me know either through this site or on social media.

 

ToiletPaper-1

Image: A Macro photograph of a single ply of toilet paper / tissue.

ToiletPaper-2

Image: A microscope image / photomicrograph of the fibres within a single ply of toilet paper / tissue at a low magnification.

ToiletPaper-3

Image: A microscope image / photomicrograph of the fibres within a single ply of toilet paper / tissue at higher magnification.