Measurement of the surface free energy of amorphous cellulose by alkane adsorption: A critical evaluation of inverse gas chromatography (igc)

G. Garnier, W. G. Glasser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Surface energies of amorphous cellulose “beads” were measured by IGC at different temperatures (50 to 100°C) using n-alkane probes (pentane to undecane). The equation of Schultz and Lavielle was applied which relates the specific retention volume of the gas probe to the dispersive component of the surface energy of the solid and liquid, γ ds and γdl respectively, and a parameter (“a”) which represents the surface area of the gas probe in contact with the solids. At 50°C, γds was determined to be 71.5 mJ/m2, and its temperature dependence was 0.36 mJ m-2K-1. Compared with measurements obtained by contact angle, IGC results were found to yield higher values, and especially a higher temperature dependence, d(γ ds)/dT. Various potential explanations for these elevated values were examined. The surface energy, as determined by the Schultz and Lavielle equation, was found to depend mostly on the parameter “a”. Two experimental conditions are known to affect the values of “a”: the solid surface and the temperature. While the surface effect of the parameter “a” was ignored in this study, the dependence of the surface energy upon temperature and probe phase was demonstrated to be significant. Several optional treatments of the parameter “a” were modeled. It was observed that both experimental imprecision, but mostly the fundamental difference between the liquid-solid vs the gas-solid system (and the associated theoretical weakness of the model used), could explain the differences between γds and d(γ ds)/dT measured by contact angle and IGC. It was concluded that the exaggerated temperature dependence of the IGC results is a consequence of limitations inherent in the definition of parameter “a”.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-180
Number of pages16
JournalThe Journal of Adhesion
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • alkane adsorption
  • amorphous cellulose beads
  • inverse gas chromatography (IGC)
  • modeling
  • surface energy
  • temperature dependence

Cite this