Chemical Modification of Wood

Satish Kumar


Wood is, perhaps, nature's most wonderful gift to humanity, its versatile character providing unlimited scope for property manipulation and product development to suit diverse applications. Progress in the field of polymer chemistry led to the development of a new class of wood products with substantially improved physical, chemical, mechanical, and biological properties. Aesthetic superiority, uniform finish, property enhancement, and reduced maintenance made modified wood attractive for large-scale application in many industrial uses as substitutes for costly metals and alloys.

Chemical modification of the cell wall achieved significant success during the last two decades. A wide variety of wood modification reactions have been studied, of which acetylation holds great potential. Improved dimensional stability and resistance to biological degradation have made it attractive for use in high-value panels and joinery products. The high resistance to biodegradation, especially with bonded biocides, holds a bright future for its use in wood protection in view of increasing environmental controls to limit pollution of the planet Earth.

Improvement in dynamic mechanical properties of wood, resulting from bulking of the cell wall, shows promise for its utilization in the manufacture of improved musical instruments.


Chemical modification;resin-impregnated wood;etherification;acetals;esterification;oligo-esterification;slow release biocides;dimensional stability;decay resistance;termite resistance;fire resistance

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