Mini-Encyclopedia of Papermaking Wet-End
Part Two: Definitions and Concepts
Hydrophilic means "water-loving." Chemical groups that tend to make substances hydrophilic include ionic (charged) groups and groups that contain oxygen or nitrogen atoms. Starch is an example of a hydrophilic polymer. Cellulose fibers are hydrophilic due to the presence of -OH groups at their surfaces. The opposite of hydrophilic is hydrophobic, or water-hating. Surface-active agents contain both hydrophilic and hydrophobic groups on the same molecules.
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