Measurement of the adhesion between single melamine-formaldehyde resin microparticles and a flat fabric surface using AFM

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • School of Process, Environmental and Materials Engineering
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Leeds


An understanding of the adhesion of microparticles, particularly microcapsules, containing a functional component to a fabric surface is crucial to an effective application of this component to the fibre. Fabric surface is very rough; hence, direct measurement of the adhesion of single microparticles to surfaces with a roughness greater than the particle diameter is difficult. In the study reported here, cotton films were generated by dissolving cotton powder in an organic solvent and their properties including surface roughness, thickness, contact angle and purity were characterised. The adhesive forces between single melamineformaldehyde (MF) resin microparticles and a cotton film under ambient conditions with a relative humidity of above 40% were measured using atomic force microscopy; they are considered to be dominated by capillary forces. It was found that there was little adhesion between a MF microparticle and a cotton film in an aqueous solution of sodium dodecylbenzene sulphonate as surfactant. Repulsion between them was observed, but it reduced with increase in the surfactant concentration and decrease in the pH of the solution. The repulsion contributions are thought to originate mainly from electrostatic repulsion. It is believed that the studies on the adhesion between single MF microparticles and a cotton film under ambient conditions or dispersed in surfactant solutions, are beneficial to the attempts to enhance the adhesion of microcapsules to fabric surfaces via a modification of their surface composition and morphology.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)973-987
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Adhesion Science and Technology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013


  • adhesion, atomic force microscopy, cotton, fabric, melamine formaldehyde, microparticle, repulsion