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Characterization of Surface Chemical Heterogeneity of Cellulosic Fibers

Delong Song, Kevin T. Hodgson


In this study, the surface chemical heterogeneity and surface physical properties of single wood pulp and rayon fibers were investigated. Wetting force traces along the fiber length were obtained by applying the Wilhelmy technique to individual fibers. A parameter called the heterogeneity index was developed from advancing and receding wetting force traces via a cubic spline statistical routine and has been shown to be a meaningful parameter to quantify the surface heterogeneity of fibers. This was done for both "as is" wood pulp and rayon fibers and wood pulp treated with various dosages of the commercial sizing agents alkyl ketene dimer (AKD) and alkenyl succinic anhydride (ASA). The results indicated that the surface chemical heterogeneity index of AKD-sized fibers increased with AKD dosage, whereas the surface roughness of fibers remained virtually unchanged. This heterogeneity index is useful to more fully understand macroscopic sizing behavior of paper sheets beyond simply the value of a single fiber average advancing contact angle.


Single fiber wettability;wood pulp fibers;contact angle;surface chemical heterogeneity;surface roughness;AKD and ASA sizing;paper sizing;sizing tests

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