Paper is generally made from the white cellulose of wood. Wood also has a dark substance called lignin, which is also an ingredient in paper-making.
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Lignin is the compound that makes the wood and trees stiff as they stand upright. It also acts as a glue to bind the cellulose fibres together as well. It was found out that the exposure of lignin to air and sunlight is the main reason for the paper to turn yellow.
The researchers revealed that when the lignin molecules are exposed to oxygen in the air, they tend to start changing and they become less stable. The lignin seems to absorb more light, which as a result gives off a darker colour.
It is revealed that if more lignin is removed, the longer the paper is said to remain white. While the paper manufacturers use the bleaching process to remove as much lignin as possible, the quality used for making newspapers and textbooks is cheap, and hence this is the reason you would find the papers and book pages turning yellow after a point of time.
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The manufacturers of brown paper grocery bags and cardboard shipping boxes revealed that they take advantage of lignin, as it makes the product sturdier. Since these products are not bleached, it leaves them with a much browner look than a regular newspaper. Hence, this is the reason due to which the bags become stiff enough.
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Every time you see an old book, have you ever wondered as to why the pages of the book have turned yellow?
Even though the books or newspapers haven't been used for a while, the pages seem to turn yellow, and the reason for the papers to turn yellow is entirely scientific.
Find out more about the reason why newspapers and pages in old books turn yellow.