Comparative Analysis of Inactivated Wood Surfaces


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Virginia Tech


A wood surface, which is exposed to a high temperature condition, can experience inactivation. Surface inactivation results in reduced ability of an adhesive to properly wet, flow, penetrate, and cure. Thus, an inactivated wood surface does not bond well with adhesives.

The changes in surface chemistry, wettability, and adhesion of inactivated wood surfaces, including heartwood of yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) and southern pine (Pinus taeda), were studied. Wood samples were dried from the green moisture content condition in a convection oven at five different temperature levels ranging from 50 to 200 °C. The comparative characterization of the surface was done by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), sessile drop wettability, and fracture testing of adhesive bonds.

The oxygen to carbon ratio (O/C) decreased and the C1/C2 ratio increased with drying temperature. The C1 component is related to carbon-carbon or carbon-hydrogen bonds, and the C2 component represents single carbon-oxygen bond. A low O/C ratio and a high C1/C2 ratio reflected a high concentration of non-polar wood components (extractives/VOCs) on the wood surface, which modified the wood surface from hydrophilic to more hydrophobic. Wettability was directly related to the O/C ratio and inversely related to the C1/C2 ratio. Contact angle decreased with time and increased with the temperature of exposure. Southern pine had a lower wettability than yellow-poplar, which was due to a greater concentration of non-polar hydrocarbon-type extractives and heat-generated volatiles on the surface. Solvent extraction prior to drying did not improved wettability, whereas, extraction after drying improved wettability. A contribution of extractives migration and VOCs generation played a significant role in the heat-induced inactivation process of southern pine.

The maximum strain energy release rate (Gmax) showed that surface inactivation was insignificant for yellow-poplar when exposed to drying temperatures < 187°C. The southern pine was most susceptible to inactivation at drying temperatures > 156°C, particularly when bonded with phenol-formaldehyde (PF) adhesive. Chemical treatments improved the wettability of inactivated wood surfaces, but an improvement in adhesion was not evident for specimens bonded with polyvinyl-acetate (PVA) adhesive. NaOH surface treatment was most effective for improving adhesion of the PF adhesive bond.



XPS, Adhesion, Wettability, Wood Surface Inactivation