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In paper manufacturing and user industry, the term for expressing the “Weight” per unit area, (more properly mass per unit area) of paper has been “basis weight”, “ream weight”, “substance”, or “grammage. Also in most countries, the mass per unit area is expressed in grams per square meter (gm.m). The area of several sheets of paper or paperboard is determined from linear measurement. The weight is determined by weighing. The grammage is calculated from the ratio of the mass to the area, after conversion to metric units when necessary.


Most paper is bought and sold in accordance with its mass per unit area, and therefore the grammage has great significance both to the consumer and the producer in defining price. The values of many physical properties such as Bursting Strength, Thickness, and Bulk are interpreted and specified with regard to grammage.