A method whereby the average paper fiber area density (weight per unit area) can be directly calculated from the intensity of transmitted, scattered light at two different wavelengths, one being a non-absorpted wavelength. Also, the method makes it possible to derive the water percentage per fiber area density from a two-wavelength measurement. In the optical measuring technique optical transmitted intensity, for example, at 2.1 microns cellulose absorption line is measured and compared with another scattered, optical transmitted intensity reference in the nearby spectrum region, such as 1.68 microns, where there is no absorption. From the ratio of these two intensities, one can calculate the scattering absorption coefficient at 2.1 microns. This absorption coefficient at this wavelength is, then, experimentally correlated to the paper fiber area density. The water percentage per fiber area density can be derived from this two-wavelength measurement approach.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.