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Lab Procedures

This section provides instructions for various laboratory tests. These include charge titrations, zeta potential determination, retention aid evaluation, drainage testing, flocculation testing, and sheet making, etc.

The Dynamic Drainage/Retention Jar, developed by Ken Britt and John Unbehend at the State University of New York (SUNY) in Syracuse, NY, is especially well suited for evaluation of retention aid treatments.

Video: Britt jar tests for retention aid evaluation

Kelly Biascak video 1, Britt jar assembly

Kelly Biascak, video 2: Britt jar operation


Britt, K. W. (1973a). “Retention of additives during sheet formation,” Tappi 56(3), 83-86.

Britt, K. W.  (1973b). “Mechanisms of retention during paper formation,” Tappi 56(10), 46-50.

Britt, K. W., and Unbehend, J. E.  (1976a). “New methods of monitoring retention,” Tappi 59(2), 67-70.

Review article: Hubbe, M. A., Nanko, H., and McNeal, M. R. (2009). Retention aid polymer interactions with cellulosic surfaces and suspensions: A Review,” BioResources 4(2), 850-906. DOI: 10.15376/biores.4.2.850-906

Instructions are provided for determination of the cationic demand and other related attributes of papermaking fiber suspensions and filtrates.

Video: Charge Demand Titrations

Video: Charge Demand Titration of high Conductivity Samples


Hubbe, M. A. (2000). “Selecting and interpreting colloidal charge measurements,” Proc. Scientific and Technical Advances in Wet End Chemistry,” PIRA, Barcelona, June 19-20. 

Hubbe, M. A. (2005). “Why different charge demand test procedures can give different endpoints for aqueous samples from paper mills,” Proc. Pira 2005 Sci. Tech. Advan. Wet End Chemistry, Lisbon, Portugal, Pira International, Leatherhead, Surrey, UK.

Hubbe, M. A. (2008). “Accurate charge-related measurements of samples from the wet end: Testing at low electrical conductivity,” Paper Technol. 49(6), 21-26.

Hubbe, M. A., and Chen, J. (2004). “Charge-related measurements – A reappraisal. Part 1: Streaming current,” Paper Technol. 45(8), 17-23. 

Hubbe, M. A., Chen, J., and Heitmann, J. A. (2004). “Measurement and impact of charge: A practical guide,” Solutions! 87(11), 47-49. 

Hubbe, M. A., Sundberg, A., Mocchiutti, P., Ni, Y., and Pelton, R. (2012). Dissolved and colloidal substances (DCS) and the charge demand of papermaking process waters and suspensions: A review,” BioResources 7(4), 6109-6193. DOI: 10.15376/biores.7.4.6109-6193

Hubbe, M. A., and Waetzig, D. (2018). “Charge monitoring and control,” in: Advances in Papermaking Wet End Chemistry Application Technologies, M. A. Hubbe and S. Rosencrance (eds.), TAPPI Press, Atlanta, Chapter 6, pp. 133-152.

The zeta potential associated with the surface of papermaking fibers can be determined using relatively simple equipment that can be assembled from materials have a total price under $100.

Fiber-pad streaming potential testing with home-made device

Spreadsheet: Calculating zeta potential from measured fiber-pad streaming and other known quantities


Hubbe, M. A. (2006). Sensing the electrokinetic potential of cellulosic fiber surfaces,” BioResources 1(1), 116-149. DOI: 10.15376/biores.1.1.116-149

Hubbe, M. A., Rojas, O. J., Lee, S. Y., Park, S., and Wang, Y. (2007). “Distinctive electrokinetic behavior of nanoporous silica particles treated with cationic polyelectrolyte,” Colloids and Surfaces A 292(2), 271-278. DOI: 10.1016/j.colsurfa.2006.06.034

Hubbe, M. A., Rojas, O. J., Lucia, L. A., and Jung, T. M. (2007). “Consequences of the nanoporosity of cellulosic fibers on their streaming potential and their interactions with cationic polyelectrolytes,” Cellulose 14(6), 655-671. DOI: 10.1007/s10570-006-9098-4

Wang, F., and Hubbe, M. A. (2002). “Charge properties of fibers in the paper mill environment. 1. Effect of electrical conductivity,” J. Pulp Paper Science 28(10), 347-353. 

Wang, F., and Hubbe, M. A. (2001). “Development and evaluation of an automated streaming potential measurement device,” Colloids and Surfaces A 194, 221-232.  DOI: 10.1016/S0927-7757(01)00802-0

Wang, F., and Hubbe, M. A. (2002). “Charge properties of fibers in the paper mill environment. 1. Effect of electrical conductivity,” J. Pulp Paper Science 28(10), 347-353. 

A modified Schopper-Riegler test is recommended for testing of papermaking chemical probrams and their effects on dewatering (related to Freeness testing). The DFR test from BTG is considered, as well as a manual test.

Video: Drainage testing with modified Schopper-Riegler device

Some test procedures are available to evaluated effects of chemical additives on the development and persistence of fiber flocs in a papermaking fiber suspension.

Video: Flocculation testing with Photometric Dispersion Analyser

Review article: Hubbe, M. A. (2007). Flocculation and redispersion of cellulosic fiber suspensions: A review of effects of hydrodynamic shear and polyelectrolytes,” BioResources 2(2), 296-331. DOI: 10.15376/biores.2.2.296-331

When using the TAPPI T 205 method to make handsheets, there are some additional points to consider when you are comparing the effects of different chemicals.

Video: Handsheets test effects of chemical additives

McMaster University video: Handsheet Making Introduction

Standard: TAPPI Test Method T 205

Issues to avoid include spattering, buildup of solids at the dry line, and a change in concentration due to water evaporation, as described in this video.

Video: Starch preparation in the laboratory