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The Surface Charge of Wood

The streaming potential method gives access to the surface charge of lignocellulosic com-pounds with different appearances: wood, pulp and fibers. The surface zeta potential indicates changes in the surface chemistry, hydrophilicity and bulk material swelling.

The analysis of the zeta potential for cellulose fibers has a long tradition. However, in the past, the focus was primarily on the characterization of cellulose pulp for the papermaking process and of cotton fibers for textile application. The development of advanced ma-terials such as light-weight composites with reinforcing plant fibers or medical auxiliary tools based on natural fibers led to a rediscovery of the streaming potential technique.

We report on the application of the surface zeta po-tential for the characterization of lignocellulose mate-rial in different shape: wood, pulp and fibers. The ef-fect of fiber purification and oxidation on the degree of surface functionalization, hydrophilicity, and swelling is demonstrated by the pH dependence of the zeta potential.

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