Comparison of the surface energetics data of eucalypt fibers and some polymers obtained by contact angle and inverse gas chromatography methods

W. Shen, Y. J. Sheng, I. H. Parker

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This study compares two approaches to determine the surface energy of solids, and its acid-base components in particular: inverse gas chromatography (IGC) and analysis of contact angle data using the Good-van Oss theory. The comparison is made in the context of wood fibers from Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus regnans pulped by the kraft and neutral sulfite semi-chemical (NSSC) processes, and of selected polymers. Contact angles on wood fibers were measured using the Wilhelmy method and on polymer samples using the sessile drop technique. For the dispersive component of the surface energy, the level of agreement between the two approaches was reasonable, using alkanes for the IGC measurements and diiodomethane for the Wilhelmy and sessile drop techniques. However, agreement was poor for the acid and base characteristics when monopolar probes were used for IGC and water, formamide, and diiodomethane for contact angle measurements. The Good-van Oss approach suggested that all fibers and polymers are monopolarly basic, whereas IGC measurements suggested that they are bipolar. When new values were used for the acid and base components of the surface energy of the liquid probes based on the values for water proposed by Della Volpe and Siboni, all samples still appeared strongly basic. This is inconsistent with the chemical nature of the lignocellulosic fibers. Thus, the Good-van Oss approach provides a poor indication of acid-base properties of the surfaces of solids in suggesting that lignocellulosic fibers and polymers are strongly basic. The above issues as well as potential problems in measuring the surface energy of lignocellulosic fibers using the three-liquid procedure and the Good-van Oss approach are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)887-901
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Adhesion Science and Technology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1999


  • acid-base characteristics
  • Contact angle
  • eucalypt fibers
  • Good-van Oss theory
  • inverse gas chromatography
  • polymers

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