Desorption isotherms at 208C for untreated, acetylated, and furfurylated Norway spruce Picea abies (L.) Karst. sapwood were established in the 91.9–99.9% relative humidity (RH) range. Three methods were employed to secure various constant RH levels: saturated salt solutions, climate chambers, and the pressure plate technique. The curve form for the untreated samples did not show an upward bend, except perhaps above 99.5% RH, indicating that – contrary to what has hitherto been assumed – capillary condensation does not play a significant role for water sorption in wood below fiber saturation. Three additional results corroborate this conclusion: (1) calculation of the theoretical contribution of capillary condensation to the moisture content (MC) in wood based on idealized microstructural geometries by means of the Kelvin and Laplace equations resulted in very small contributions to the equilibrium moisture content (EMC), i.e., below 0.35% moisture at 99.9% RH. (2) The ratio between the EMC of acetylated and untreated samples did not show an increasing trend for increasing RH, as would have been the case if capillary condensation had taken place in both untreated and acetylated wood. (3) Low field time domain nuclear magnetic resonance results showed that only the relaxation curves from the furfurylated samples were affected systematically by freezing, indicating that neither untreated nor acetylated wood contained significant amounts of capillary condensed water.
- Capillary condensation
- Wood-water relations