Inverse gas chromatography for studying interaction of materials used for cellulose fiber/polymer composites

William T.Y. Tze, Magnus E.P. Wålinder, Douglas J. Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The objective of this research was to use inverse gas chromatography (IGC) to infer fiber-matrix interactions for predicting practical adhesion between cellulose fibers and polystyrene matrix polymer. IGC experiments were performed on polystyrene, untreated, alkyl- and amino-silanated cellulose (lyocell) fibers. The fiber-matrix acid-base interaction was quantified by (1) pairing the acidic parameter (KA) of one component with the basic parameter (KB) of another component and (2) observing the adsorption enthalpy of the polymer building blocks (ethylbenzene) onto the fibers. Results show that the cellulose/polystyrene acid-base interaction inferred from interaction parameters is closely correlated to that evaluated from the specific adsorption of ethylbenzene. This feature indicates that the acid-base interactions, which play an important role in the adhesion between fibers and polystyrene, can be conveniently predicted from their respective acid and base parameters (K A and KB) prior to composites' manufacture. A specific implication of this study is that treatment with an aminosilane is likely to improve interaction and, hence, bonding with polystyrene in a composite system. Treatment with alkylsilane, on the other hand, would result in a weak interaction with polystyrene. These predictions will be verified in future studies which will correlate materials interactions with interfacial micromechanics in the resulting micro-composites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-759
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Adhesion Science and Technology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was made possible with the support from the USDA/CSREES New England Wood Utilization Research Fund. The fiber samples used in this study were kindly donated by Acordis Cellulosic Fibers Inc. (Axis, AL, USA). The research reported in this paper was part of Dr. Tze’s dissertation work at the University of Maine.


  • Acid-base interaction
  • Cellulose
  • Composites
  • Fiber-matrix interaction
  • Inverse gas chromatography
  • Polystyrene
  • Silane


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