Use of material properties in commercial products

Many commercially made products are made from paper, board or card. Each material used will be chosen because it will have specific working properties that suit the intended use.

Often advertising flyers are posted through doors to make a potential consumer aware of a service or event. Flyers are normally A4 (210 × 297 mm) or A5 (148 × 210 mm) sheets of paper that have been either self-made using a photocopier or professionally printed on expensive glossy paper.

Birthday cards are made from thick white board that is die cut and scored. Most greetings cards are mass produced or made in smaller batches, depending on style of the card. Some cards can be handmade and even custom designed to order.

The method of manufacture changes depending on how many are being made. If a greetings card is to be made in mass, then offset lithography printing would be a suitable printing method. Offset lithography prints large numbers of card-based products at high speed. Offset lithography prints small dots in four main colours that overlay each other to create the full colour spectrum. Ink is transferred (offset) from a metal plate to a rubber roller - the paper or card never comes into contact with the image on the plate.

The offset lithography process, showing untrimmed sheets of paper passing through different cylinders and finishing with a 'T' printed on trimmed sheets.

Many food containers and packages are made from paper or board-based materials.

Tetra Brik is a popular card-based packaging that is used for many liquids such as fruit juice and milk. It often has a rectangular or square shape to the base that makes it ideal for transit in larger boxes. Most of the material is made from a paper-based board that is renewable, and Tetra Brik can be recycled.

Two angled Tetra Pak cartons - one is blank and one has an apple juice label on it.