Modification of solid wood: research and practical potential
H Militz, E P J Beckers, W J Homan
The polymeric structure of the wooden cellwall mainly consists cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. The most reactive sites on these components are the hydroxyl groups. The cellwall polymers (and its reactive hydroxyl groups) are responsible for most physical and chemical properties of wood. By changing the basic chemistry of the cellwall polymers, it is possible to change different undesirable attitudes of wood considerably, so as durability, dimensional stability, hardness and stability against UV-degradation. In this overview paper, the principles of wood modification, reaction types, process parameters and material properties gained by different modification treatments are discussed. Furthermore, the challenges on the way from laboratory scale to commercial application are highlighted.