Optimising hydrogen bonding in solid wood

Emil Tang Engelund

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


    The chemical bonds of wood are both covalent bonds within the wood polymers and hydrogen bonds within and between the polymers. Both types of bonds are responsible for the coherence, strength and stiffness of the material. The hydrogen bonds are more easily modified by changes in load, moisture and temperature distorting the internal bonding state. A problem arises when studying hydrogen bonding in wood since matched wood specimens of the same species will have very different internal bonding states. Thus, possible changes in the bonding state due to some applied treatment such as conditioning or mechanical stress might be difficult to detect due to a large variation between the specimens. In this study, the modifications by all past external impacts such as climate and mechanical history were sought erased. This was done by heating specimens of pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) to 80 °C about 24 h while maintaining 100 % moisture content of the wood. The hypothesis was that this would enable a fast stress relaxation as a result of reorganization of bonds, since moisture plasticizes the material and temperature promotes faster kinetics. Hereby, all past bond distortions caused by various moisture, temperature, and load histories were assumed to be erased by this treatment. Thus, all specimens would be given a common starting point for further experiments. After the first treatment, the specimens were subjected to different climate histories in order to examine the impact of variations in air humidity and temperature. The distribution of bond lengths was examined using infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) both prior to treatments and after. The results show that the absorbance bands of the spectra related to the hydroxyl and carboxyl stretching vibrations were changed by the treatments. Apparently, the first treatment mostly caused an extension of the short hydrogen bonds. This extension decreased after the second treatment either as a result of changes in air humidity and temperature or merely as a function of time.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationNordic-Baltic Network in Wood Material Science and Engineering (WSE), Proceedings of the 5th meeting : October 1-2
    EditorsAndreas Bergstedt
    PublisherForest & Landscape, University of Copenhagen
    Publication date2009
    ISBN (Print)978-87-7903-437-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    Event5th Meeting in the Nordic-Baltic Network in Wood Material Science and Engineering - Copenhagen, Denmark
    Duration: 1 Jan 2009 → …


    Conference5th Meeting in the Nordic-Baltic Network in Wood Material Science and Engineering
    CityCopenhagen, Denmark
    Period01/01/2009 → …
    SeriesForest & Landscape Working Papers


    • ATR-FTIR
    • hydrogen bonds


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