, Volume 24, Issue 11, pp 4691–4700 | Cite as

Inverse gas chromatography for natural fibre characterisation: dispersive and acid-base distribution profiles of the surface energy

  • A. Legras
  • A. Kondor
  • M. Alcock
  • M. T. Heitzmann
  • R. W. Truss
Original Paper


Inverse Gas Chromatography (IGC) is a gas sorption technique to determine the surface energy of natural fibres. The surface energy is directly related to the thermodynamic work of adhesion and it reflects the fibre adsorption capacity and its wettability. However, natural fibres have a complex surface chemistry of numerous organic species and present physical asperities that render the surface energetically heterogeneous. Since IGC is typically performed at infinite dilution where only the higher energetic sites interact with the solvent, a single measure of surface energy is likely to be misleading as the surface energy changes with changing chemical composition. Here we present the dispersive and acid-base surface energy profiles of flax and kenaf fibres as well as continuous filament fibres produced by a dry jet, wet spinning process (cellulose B). We injected a series of n-alkanes at finite dilution to obtain the dispersive energy distribution profile at \(30\,^{\circ }\hbox {C}\) and 0% RH. The acid-base contributions were determined by injection of mono polar probes (dichloromethane, ethylacetate) at the same surface coverages and applying the Van Oss method. The cellulose B fibres were the most energetically homogeneous, while the bast fibres were shown to have a higher polar component and much broader surface energy distributions than the cellulose fibres.


Inverse gas chromatography Natural fibres Surface characterisation Surface energy 



This study was undertaken as part of the Cooperative Research Centre for Advanced Composites Structures Australia Project P1.1 research project, established and supported under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centre Program. The authors acknowledge the Composites Innovation Centre for their access to equipment. The technical support from Surface Measurement Systems is also gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Legras
    • 1
  • A. Kondor
    • 2
  • M. Alcock
    • 3
  • M. T. Heitzmann
    • 1
  • R. W. Truss
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Mechanical and Mining EngineeringThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Surface Measurement Systems LTDAlpertonUnited Kingdom
  3. 3.Composites Innovation CentreWinnipegCanada

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