Humidity and Paper Science Project!

In an earlier post, I spoke about proper paper care of paper in humid and arid conditions. After this humid summer, I wanted to put the paper to the test. The question, “how does different types of storage (thus humidity) really affect paper quality?”

So I stored paper in different conditions for a week and a half to absorb surrounding moisture. These were the different areas of storage and their associated humidity:

  • AC office (optimal conditions)
  • Warehouse (low/moderate humidity)
  • Trunk of a car (moderate/high)
  • Humidity chamber (high)


Set up

  • All of the paper was unwrapped and put in their respective locations so they wouldn’t be moved or affected by anything but surrounding humidity. The humidity chamber was a large container with an inch of water at the bottom and stands to keep the paper dry. This was stored in the sun, building humidity inside this closed container. Then, the most crucial part…we let it sit.



  • I printed a sample email on half a ream for a reasonable sample size in a multi-function printer.  Inspected each stack for toner flaking and more importantly paper curling. This is what we found:



None of the pages had any visible signs of toner flaking or smudging. Printing graphics could have shown a better representation of toner flaking/smudging.  Surprisingly, the warehouse stored paper had more curling than the trunk. From best to worst results:

  1. Office paper = flat
  2. Trunk = slight curling on sides
  3. Warehouse = curling on sides, top, and bottom
  4. Humidity Chamber = extreme curling on sides, top, and bottom. The body of the paper also had significant wrinkling


To see the science project in action, watch the YouTube video!