This study presents the development of an ImageJ plugin for surface characterization. Based on gradient analysis, parameters, such as the gradient magnitude, orientation, mean resultant vector and surface area are derived. A comparative study of supercalendered (SC) papers was performed to verify the surface representations yielded by a laser profilometer. The surface representations of samples covered with carbon and gold were compared to untreated samples. The results confirm the suitability of gold coating for reducing the artefacts encountered on laser profilometry surface representations of paper. In addition, a complete scanning electron microscopy analysis is performed on the assessed samples to quantify the surface fraction covered by mineral fillers and to reveal the true 3D microstructure of SC surfaces. The influence of filler coverage and filler type on the gloss level of commercial SC papers is evaluated. The relationship between the surface topography, gloss and PPS roughness for a series of commercial SC papers is established.
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