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A feasibility study on femtosecond laser texturing of sprayed nanocellulose coatings.

Carbohydrate Polymers 2024 September 16
Nanocelluloses are emerging as natural materials with favourable properties for coating industry and can be applied by state-of-the-art spraying technology. While additional functionalities are commonly introduced through chemical modification, the surface microstructuring of nanocellulose coatings with high throughput methods remains unexplored. Here, a femtosecond laser is used for texturing spray-coated coatings made of cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) or cellulose nanocrystals (CNC). For coating thickness of 1.5 to 8 μm, processing limits were determined with maximum ablation energy linearly increasing with coating thickness and minimum ablation energy decreasing or increasing depending on the apparent coating density. Within applicable processing window of pulse rate and power setting, the operational ranges were determined for creating one-dimensional and two-dimensional surface patterns, requiring a higher laser energy for CNC compared to CNF coatings and yielding thinnest possible resolved patterns of 17 μm as determined by the laser spot diameter. The laser ablation under low energy corresponds to an increase in surface roughness and intensifies surface hydrophilicity, while the line patterns are able to pin water droplets with rising water contact angles up to 90°. Present feasibility study opens future possibilities for managing surface properties of nanocellulose coatings in applications where tuning of surface hydrophilicity is required.

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