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Susanna Källbom, Michael Altgen, Holger Militz, Magnus Wålinder


The objective of this work is to study the water vapor sorption and surface energy properties of thermally modified wood (TMW) components, ie wood processing residuals in the form of sawdust. The thermal modification was performed on spruce wood components using a steam-pressurized laboratoryscale reactor at two different temperature (T) and relative humidity (RH) conditions, T . 150°C and RH . 100% (TMW150), and T . 180°C and RH . 46% (TMW180). A dynamic vapor sorption (DVS) technique was used to determine water vapor sorption isotherms of the samples for three adsorption-desorption cycles at varying RH between 0% and 95%. Inverse gas chromatography (IGC) was used to study the surface energy properties of the samples, including dispersive and polar characteristics. The DVS results showed that the EMC was reduced by 30-50% for the TMW samples compared with control samples of unmodified wood (UW) components. A lower reduction was, however, observed for the second and third adsorption cycles compared with that of the first cycle. Ratios between EMC of TMW and that of UW samples were lower for the TMW180 compared with the TMW150 samples, and an overall decrease in such EMC ratios was observed at higher RH for both TMW samples. The IGC results showed that the dispersive contribution to the surface energy was higher at lower surface coverages, ie representing the higher energy sites, for the TMW compared with theUWsamples. In addition, an analysis of the acid-base properties indicated a higher KB than KA number, ie a higher basic than acidic contribution to the surface energy, for all the samples. A higher KB number was also observed for theTMWcompared with theUWsamples, suggested to relate to the presence of ether bonds from increased lignin and/or extractives content at the surface. The KB was lower for TMW180 compared with TMW150, as a result of higher modification temperature of the first, leading to cleavage of these ether bonds.






Thermally modified wood; dynamic vapor sorption (DVS); inverse gas chromatography (IGC); Norway spruce; surface energy; acid-base properties

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