New concepts for molecular engineering of macroscopic adhesion
Layer-by-Layer (LbL) films, where oppositely charged polyelectrolytes are deposited consecutively on top of each other provide excellent means to control the adhesive interactions between solid materials. Nano-meter thin, adhesive layers can be formed. Fine tuning of the molecular components and the deposition conditions enables us to tailor the adhesive properties of the thin films. In this study, block copolymers containing charged blocks together with blocks with various properties, such as ductility or stiffness, will be synthesized, whereafter their mechanical properties and behaviour as micelle dispersions will be evaluated. Then studies of layer by layer adsorption of the copolymers to model surfaces of silica and cellulose will follow, as well as characterization of the adhesive properties of the LbL films.
These films could potentially find numerous applications where a thin, adhesive joint is desired. One example would be to tailor the mechanical properties of paper, through manipulation of the fibre-fibre joints.