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What Caused the Streak?

The Problem: A major US paper manufacturer was finding recurring instances of red streaks on a particular lot of paper. Production and sale of this lot could not proceed until the source of the contamination was identified. The scientists at IPS Testing were asked to identify the contaminant in order to enable the manufacturer to identify the source and remedy the issue.


The Analysis: The client assumed that the particles in the streak had an organic carrier. When Infrared Spectroscopy of a solvent extract did not find anything, the material was examined in greater detail by light and electron microscopy and Energy dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS). The streak proved to be composed of a mixture of very fine particles residing on the surface of the paper. Several of the red particles were analyzed by Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) and were identified as iron oxide (rust).

The Conclusion: With the contaminant revealed by the IPS analysis, the issue was able to be identified as one of general housekeeping on the part of the manufacturer.