Skip to main content

FKF3160 Paper Surfaces - Characterization and Properties 4.5 credits

Course offering missing for current semester as well as for previous and coming semesters
Headings with content from the Course syllabus FKF3160 (Spring 2020–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

The coating layer's raw materials and application processes

  • Surface chemistry
  • Advanced characterization methods
  • Paper optics
  • Pore structure and absorption
  • Surface topography and contact mechanics
  • Mechanical properties and converting
  • Pressure quality
  • Printing methods

Intended learning outcomes

After the course, the participants should be able to…

  • apply a wide range of techniques used to characterize paper surface structure, paper surface chemistry and print quality, and account for the validity of the results of the same characterization techniques
  • explain interfacial phenomena like wetting, absorption, and adhesion
  • describe the relationship between surface topography and paper optical properties
  • describe how paper surface properties affect ink-paper interaction and print quality in different printing technologies
  • describe the surface cracking phenomena on the basis of converting processes, substrate properties and coating layer composition

Course disposition

Surface chemistry: The phenomena wetting, spreading and adhesion of the paint is explained. The doctoral student learns to combine surface chemical models with contact angle measurements to select appropriate combinations of inks and substrates. (2h)

Advanced characterization methods: Advanced measurement methods and techniques are described. The doctoral student learns to select and apply methods for determining surface composition and location of components such as printing ink or latex within the coating layer. (3h)

Paper Optics: Basic paper optics and the concept of colour are explained. The doctoral student learns to explain and to apply concepts such as light scattering, brightness, opacity and colour. (2h)

Pore structure and absorption: The doctoral student learn how pore structure is characterized and how different pigments affect the pore structure. Absorption of ink in the coating layer is explained using advanced mathematical models. The doctoral student will learn to explain how absorption of different inks through different structures. (4h)

Surface topography and contact mechanics: The concept of topography is addressed by definitions of surface roughness. Methods for measuring topography at different size levels are reviewed as well as the principles for how the measurements are performed. The influence of topography on contact area and print quality is addressed. The doctoral student should be able to choose the relevant method for characterizing surface or paper topography to ensure print quality for the most common printing methods. (2h)

Mechanical properties and converting: The material chemistry of the coating layer is treated as well as the most common converting methods. The doctoral student will learn how coating layer components affect the mechanical properties and how different converting operations affect the stress and strain field near the surface of the paper or cardboard. (3h)

Pressure quality: Print quality and perception are dealt with. The doctoral student should be able to identify different printing defects and describe how we experience them, and propose appropriate measurement methods to quantify them. (2h)

Printing methods: Offset printing, ink jet printing, flexography and electronics printing are dealt with. The doctoral student will learn how to apply the knowledge from the course by describing how the composition of the coating layer and the application process affect the absorption of ink and print quality for the various processes. (8h)

In addition to the lectures, the doctoral student is expected to engage in self-study where they delve into and reflect on the content of the lecture to an extent of at least 3 hours per lecture hour to build up an understanding of how to apply the knowledge gained during the course. This can be by theoretical studies or practical trials while performing research. If necessary, students are expected to find relevant literature within the subject. The examination is expected to take between 4 and 6 hours.

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Eligible for studies at the third-cycle level.

Recommended prerequisites

Contact the course coordinator for information.


No information inserted


Lecture notes and scientific papers.

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

P, F


  • TEN1 - Examination, 4,5 hp, betygsskala: P, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

Not applicable for doctoral studies.

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

Not applicable for doctoral studies.


Profile picture Mikael Lindström

Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web FKF3160

Offered by

CBH/Fibre and Polymer Technology

Main field of study

No information inserted

Education cycle

Third cycle

Add-on studies

Have a discussion with your supervisor which courses may be appropriate in your individual study plan.


Mikael Lindström,, 08-790 62 07

Postgraduate course

Postgraduate courses at CBH/Fibre and Polymer Technology