UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Plasma Pre-treatments to Improve the Weather Resistance of Polyurethane Coatings on Black Spruce Wood Haase, Jonathan G.; Leung, Lukie H.; Evans, Philip D.


We hypothesize that plasma treatments that increase the adhesion and penetration of transparent water, and solvent-borne polyurethane coatings into black spruce wood will improve the performance of coated wood exposed to accelerated weathering. We tested this hypothesis by modifying wood samples with plasma for 30, 180, 600, and 1200 s, and measuring coating penetration and adhesion using light microscopy and a mechanical pull-off test, respectively. Plasma treatment did not improve coating adhesion, but the solvent-borne coating showed deeper penetration into plasma-modified wood, and its resistance to accelerated weathering was better on plasma-modified wood than on untreated controls. Plasma treatments enhanced the penetration of water-borne polyurethane into wood, but the treatments did not improve weather-resistance of the coating. Plasma treatment increased the wettability of wood surfaces, and prolonged plasma treatment etched cell walls, increasing their porosity. These effects may explain the positive effect of plasma treatment on coating penetration, and the increased weather-resistance of the solvent-borne polyurethane on plasma-modified wood. In conclusion, our results indicate that the ability of plasma treatment to improve coating performance on black spruce depends on the coating type, and the effects of the treatment on the surface microstructure of wood.

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