UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Differential Etching of Rays at Wood Surfaces Exposed to an Oxygen Glow Discharge Plasma Cheng, Kenneth J.; Ma, Weicong; Evans, P. D. (Philip D.)


Basswood samples were exposed to oxygen glow-discharge plasmas for 30 min, and etching of radial and tangential longitudinal surfaces was measured. It was hypothesized that there would be a positive correlation between etching and plasma energy, and differential etching of wood surfaces because of variation in the microstructure and chemical composition of different woody tissues. Etching at the surface of basswood samples was examined using profilometry. Light and scanning electron microscopy were used to examine the microstructure of samples exposed to plasma. There was a large effect of plasma energy on etching of basswood surfaces, and radial surfaces were etched to a greater extent than tangential surfaces. However, rays at radial surfaces were more resistant to etching than fibers, resulting in greater variation in the etching of radial versus tangential surfaces. The same phenomenon occurred at radial surfaces of balsa wood, jelutong and New Zealand white pine subjected to plasma etching. The possible reasons for the greater resistance of rays to plasma etching are explored, and it is suggested that such differential etching of wood surfaces may impose a limitation on the use of plasma to precisely etch functional patterns at wood surfaces (raised pillars, grooves), as has been done with other materials.

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