Wood bonding by mechanically-induced in situ welding of polymeric structural wood constituents



Mechanically induced wood fusion welding, without any adhesive, is shown here to yield rapidly bonding wood joints satisfying the relevant requirements for structural application. The mechanism of mechanically induced vibrational wood fusion welding is shown to be due mostly to the melting and flowing of amorphous cells–interconnecting polymer material in the structure of wood, mainly lignin, but also some hemicelluloses. This causes a partial detachment, the “ungluing,” of long wood cells and wood fibers and the formation of an entanglement network drowned in a matrix of melted material which then solidifies, thus forming a wood cell/fiber entanglement network composite with a molten lignin polymer matrix. During the welding period some of the detached wood fibers which are no longer being held by the interconnecting material are pushed out of the joint as excess fiber. Crosslinking chemical reactions of lignin and carbohydrate-derived furfural also occur. Their presence has been identified by CP-MAS 13C-NMR. These reactions, however, are relatively minor contributors during the very short welding period. Their contribution increases after welding has finished, which explains why relatively longer holding times under pressure after the end of welding contribute strongly to obtaining a good bond. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 92: 243–251, 2004