Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Kim, Yun Sang

Committee Member

Street, Jason Tyler

Committee Member

Zhang, Xuefeng

Committee Member

Mohammadabadi, Mostafa

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Forest Resources

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Forest Resources


Department of Sustainable Bioproducts


Wood is a renewable resource and versatile material used in tasks ranging from tools and furniture to advanced engineering structures. Although wood is light, mechanically robust, environmentally friendly, and abundant, some inherent properties of wood, such as degradation due to moisture and UV radiation from sunlight, are less desirable for extended service life and dimensional stability. In this dissertation, a novel surface modification of wood is explored by depositing nano-sized titania particles on wood veneers and cross-laminated timber (CLT) blocks by liquid-precursor flame spray pyrolysis to confer reversible wettability switching and enhanced durability to UV irradiation. The reaction between a flame source and a titanium precursor in isopropyl alcohol under controlled air pressure created a micrometer-scale thin TiO2 coating on wood that turns the treated wood superhydrophobic with a water contact angle (WCA) of >=150°. Morphological studies suggest the coating is comprised of sub-100 nm TiO2 individual and aggregated particles, creating a very porous microstructure. The coating consists of TiO2 rich in the anatase phase (>60%) with an average crystal size of 18 and 32 nm for the anatase and rutile phases, respectively. The wettability switching characteristics of the surface of TiO2-wood veneers from superhydrophobicity to superhydrophilicity (WCA ~0°) and again back to superhydrophobicity are examined through UV exposure (0.0032 W/m2), WCA measurements, and vacuum drying at ~0.14 mbar. The color and gloss spectrometry results of the TiO2-treated CLT samples indicate that the coating offered better resistance to discoloration and gloss change than the uncoated samples during the 8-week accelerated weathering conditions. The data shows that the FSP-treated CLT samples were more than two times more effective in preventing discoloration and changes in natural luster, as evidenced by the significant differences in L*, a*, b*, and gloss values. Moreover, the FSP treatment might have played a role in preventing weathering defects, such as splits and cracks. In addition, the FSP-treated CLT specimens were able to reduce variability in the samples more effectively than the control group. Overall, the findings of the study indicate that liquid-precursor FSP has the potential to serve as a facile, economically viable, and less energy-intensive approach to modify wooden surfaces for improved hydrophobicity, as well as to provide shielding against the deteriorating impacts of UV radiation and moisture exposure.

Keywords: wood modification, flame spray pyrolysis, titania coating, superhydrophobic coating, particle deposition, wettability switching