Surface modifications of fibre based materials
Ph D Student: Emil Gustafsson
The initial aim of the project is to develop an analytical model system based on the JKR theory with the objective to study adhesion between cellulose fibres/microfibrillated cellulose. Particular effort will be made to develop a method to study breakage of dry joints between cellulose surfaces and ultimately breakage between surfaces that has been physically modified. The purpose is to study how physical surface modification of renewable fibres and microfibrils can be used to tailor these materials for use as reinforcing elements in advanced biocomposites or for the preparation of totally new materials from wood fibres.
In the present project the modifications will focus on tailoring both the surface energy and the surface morphology of fibrils and fibres since this is necessary to create materials that will show a high compatibility with matrix materials and to show optimised wetting behaviour. The well known Layer-by-Layer technique utilising oppositely charged polyelectrolytes will be used but new techniques based on surface treatment with supercritical carbon dioxide solution using crystallizing waxes and/or polymers will also be utilised in later stages of the project. The project will be a collaboration between KTH-Fibre Technology, KTH Surface Chemistry and YKI where a fundamental knowledge in cellulose fibres/microfibrils modification will be combined with a fundamental knowledge in surface chemistry and surface modifications using both surfactants and polyelectrolytes. The collaboration will also make it possible to utilise cutting edge analytical equipment for surface characterisation and determination of interaction between modified fibres/fibrils and different solids and liquids.
The project is a part of Wallenberg Wood Science Center.