Mechanically-induced wood flow welding, without any adhesive, is here shown to rapidly yield wood joints satisfying the relevant requirements for structural application. The mechanism of mechanically-induced vibrational wood flow welding is shown to be due mostly to the melting and flowing of the amorphous polymer materials interconnecting wood cells, mainly lignin, but also some hemicelluloses. This causes the partial detachment of long wood cells and wood fibres and the formation of an entanglement network in a matrix of melted material which then solidifies. Thus, it forms a wood cell/fibre entanglement network composite having a molten lignin polymer matrix. During the welding period, some of the detached wood fibres no longer held by the interconnecting material are pushed out of the joint as excess fibre. Cross-linking chemical reactions of lignin and of carbohydrate-derived furfural also occur. Their presence has been identified by CP-MAS 13C NMR. These reactions are, however, relatively minor contributors during the very short welding period. Their contribution increases after welding has finished, explaining why relatively longer holding times under pressure after the end of welding contribute strongly to obtaining a good bond.
Copyright © 2004 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG