, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 3415–3435 | Cite as

The mechanism of alkyl ketene dimer (AKD) sizing on cellulose model films studied by sum frequency generation vibrational spectroscopy

  • Lei Li
  • David J. NeivandtEmail author
Original Research


Sum frequency generation vibrational spectroscopy (SFS) was employed to study the alkyl ketene dimer (AKD) sizing mechanism employed in the papermaking industry for hydrophobization of cellulose. The AKD was spun coat onto model cellulose films, which resulted in ≈ 2.6 nm thick AKD layers. The chain orientation of AKD molecules during the sizing process was measured at different temperatures. It was demonstrated that the chain orientation and conformation of AKD do not correlate with observed changes in sizing. The distribution of AKD molecules on model cellulose surfaces as a function of time and temperature was imaged via fluorescence microscopy to complement SFS measurements. It was concluded that the distribution of AKD plays a major role in the sizing effect.

Graphical abstract


Sum frequency generation vibrational spectroscopy Cellulose Alkyl ketene dimer (AKD) Sizing mechanism Contact angle Fluorescence microscopy 



Financial support for the present work was kindly provided by the Graduate School, and the Forest Bioproduct Research Institute, of the University of Maine. Additional financial support was provided by the School of Materials Science and Engineering, of the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology. The authors thank Dr. Douglas W. Bousfield for assistance with the contact angle measurements, Dr. Samuel T. Hess for assistance with the fluorescence microscopy measurements, and Dr. Douglas Gardner for assistance with the AFM measurements.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Materials Science and EngineeringUniversity of Shanghai for Science and TechnologyShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of MaineOronoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Chemical and Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of MaineOronoUSA

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