Main characteristics are:
- Soft, does not scratch.
- Non-linting, no dust, no static.
- Strong, even when wet, can be rinsed and reused.
- Clean, hygienic, can be sterilized.
- Textile-like surface and drape.
- Can be dyed, printed, embossed, coated and made solvent resistant.
Unlike the normal papermaking process, airlaid paper does not use water as the carrying medium for the fibre. Fibres are carried and formed to the structure of paper by air. The air-laid structure is isotropic.
The raw material is long fibered softwood fluff pulp in roll form. The pulp are defibrized in a hammermill. Defibration is the process of freeing the fibres from each other before entering the papermachine. Important parameters for dry defibration are shredding energy and knot content. Normally an air-laid paper consists of about 85% fibre. A binder must be applied as a spray or foam. Alternatively, additional fibres or powders can be added to the pulp which can then be activated and cured by heat.