Characterization of Laser Modified Surfaces for Wood Adhesion


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Virginia Tech


The controlled degradation of wood surfaces with infrared light from a CO2 pulsed laser facilitated adhesion without the use of additional resins. Laser modification creates a surface phenomenon that physically and chemically alters the natural biopolymer organization of lignocellulosic materials in a way that promotes adhesion when hot pressed using typical industrial equipment. Laser optimization was determined through mechanical and microscopic observation. It was determined that a mild level of laser surface modification (scale of 30 W/mm2) resulted in the highest bond-line strength. The large spot size of the laser beam resulted in evenly modified surfaces. Surface analysis revealed that laser modification changed native wood morphology, hydrolyzed and vaporized hemicellulose, and enriched the surface with cellulose II and lignin. Attenuated Total Reflectance Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (ATR FTIR) was used to analyze the bulk of the laser material. This experiment revealed a change in the hydroxyl region related to hydrogen bonding conformations between wood polymers, mainly cellulose. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) provided an elemental composition of the top 5 nanometers of the surface, which resulted in increased carbon-carbon/carbon-hydrogen linkages and decreased oxygen containing bonds due to laser ablation. Static acid-base contact angle analysis was conducted using three probe liquids to find the Lewis acid, Lewis base, and dispersion components of the top nanometer of surface chemistry. Contact angle analysis revealed laser modified samples had a surface free energy that remained similar to the control wood sample. In addition, the dispersion component of the surface free energy increased due to laser ablation while acid-base components were reduced. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) visually displays a reduction in surface roughness due to the laser technique. An additional set of experiments like thermal gravimetric analysis, thermal pre and post treatments, and heated ATR FTIR and XPS support findings which require more investigation into this adhesion phenomenon.



Wood adhesion, Laser treatment, Wood composites, Wood surface chemistry