The Ability of Wood to Buffer Highly Acidic and Alkaline Adhesives


  • Xiaodong Wang
  • Zeen Huang
  • Paul Cooper
  • Xiang-Ming Wang
  • Yaolin Zhang
  • Romulo Casilla


pH, acidity, alkalinity, buffering capacity, phenol formaldehyde (PF), melamine urea formaldehyde (MUF), adhesives, bond line


The ability of wood to buffer and mitigate the effects of strongly acidic or alkaline environments produced near the glue line by extreme pH structural adhesives was evaluated. The pH values of wood, cured adhesives, and mixtures of the two in water slurries were determined for different wood types. The pHs of slurries of seven highly alkaline phenol-formaldehyde adhesives were lowered when the adhesive was cured in the presence of wood dust with effects increasing with the proportion of wood in the mixture. The "acidities" or amounts of alkali needed to adjust the slurries to pH 12.5 were relatively high for all species because of weak acid groups in wood that dissociate at pH greater than 8. This explains the ability of wood to buffer highly alkaline adhesives. The pHs of slurries of two acidic melamine-urea-formaldehyde adhesives increased in the presence of wood, but the effect was less significant compared with the alkaline adhesives. Similarly, the "alkalinities" or amounts of acid required to adjust the slurries to pH 3 were relatively low. Aspen veneer samples had a greater effect on adhesive pH than spruce and Douglas-fir. These effects will help mitigate potentially adverse effects of strongly alkaline or acidic adhesives on wood adhesive bond strength.


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