Construction of hydrophobic wood surfaces by room temperature deposition of rutile (TiO2) nanostructures

Significance Statement

Although wood remains an important building material of choice, thanks to its superior mechanical properties and aesthetic qualities, it is subject to swelling and shrinking as a result of absorption and desorption of moisture. These swelling and shrinking cycles can lead to cracks in the wood that adversely affect its performance. Various methods for improving moisture resistance of wood have been developed over the years, and recently there has been an increasing interest in the use of TiO2 nanostructures for that purpose.  One such method relies on high temperature hydrothermal deposition of TiO2 nanostructures on the wood surface. This paper describes an alternative room temperature method for constructing rutile TiO2 nanostructures on wood surfaces. Since this method can be performed in aqueous solutions at room temperature, it may also be applicable to other biopolymer materials, such as cellulose nanocrystals, textiles, or paper.

Figure legend: Rutile TiO2 hierarchical nanostructures constructed on a wood substrate

Construction hydrophobic wood surfaces r.t deposition of rutile (TiO2) nanostructures. Advances in Engineering












Journal Reference

Rongbo Zheng1,2 , Mandla A. Tshabalala3, , , Qingyu Li1, Hongyan Wang4. Applied Surface Science, Volume 328, 15 February 2015, Pages 453–458. 

Show Affiliations
  1. College of Science, Southwest Forestry University, Kunming 650224, PR China
  2. Wood Adhesives and Glued Products Key Laboratory of Yunnan Province, Southwest Forestry University, Kunming 650224, PR China
  3. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, One Gifford Pinchot Drive, Madison, WI 53726-2398, USA
  4. Zhejiang Forestry Academy, Hangzhou 310023, PR China


A convenient room temperature approach was developed for growing rutile TiO2hierarchical structures on the wood surface by direct hydrolysis and crystallization of TiCl3 in saturated NaCl aqueous solution. The morphology and the crystal structure of TiO2 coated on the wood surface were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD), respectively. The TiO2 morphology on the wood surface could be tuned by simply changing either the reaction time or pH value of the reaction mixture. After modification with perfluorodecyltriethoxysilane (PFDTS), the water contact angle (WCA) of the TiO2-treated wood (T1) surface increased to 140.0 ± 4.2°, which indicated a highly hydrophobic wood surface. In addition, compared with untreated control wood, PFDTS-TiO2 treatment (PFDTS-T1-treated) not only reduced liquid water uptake, but also delayed the onset of water saturation point of the wood substrate. The weight change of PFDTS-T1-treated wood after 24 h of water immersion was 19.3%, compared to 81.3% for the untreated control wood. After 867 h of water immersion, the weight change for the treated and untreated wood specimens was 117.1%, and 155.1%, respectively. The untreated control wood reached the steady state after 187 h, while the PFDTS-T1-treated wood did not reach the steady state until after 600 h of immersion.

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