National Chemistry Week

Kelli Beilharz, Administrative Assistant, Kingsport Mill

Volunteers from the Kingsport Mill set up a display booth and offered demonstrations as part of the American Chemical Society’s National Chemistry Week, held in Kingsport. This annual event is designed to show kids real-life applications of chemistry, and perhaps inspire them to choose a science-based career one day… maybe in pulp and paper.

Throughout the two-day event, about 1,300 fourth grade students from surrounding school districts travelled to the Employee Center of the Eastman Chemical Company, which has hosted the event since its inception 21 years ago.

The groups that visited the Domtar booth were invited to see and touch a segment of a tree trunk, as well as a sample of the kind of wood chips used to make pulp. A video of the entire process was played that showed the students, step-by-step, how paper is made. The youngsters were also able to see how pulp is manufactured and feel a sample.

After the demonstrations and explanations, the Kingsport volunteers answered questions from students and teachers, and offered interesting facts about the Kingsport Mill. For example, the mill produces enough paper in one day to stretch from Kingsport to Memphis, Tennessee, and back again (about 976 miles or 1,570 km). The children were also impressed that one roll of paper produced from the K1 paper machine weighs as much as 14 elephants!

Each student received a Domtar pencil and a sheet of paper with instructions on how to make a Domtar paper airplane. In addition, every teacher received a carton of copy paper donated by the mill.