The dynamic vapour sorption behaviour of two Malaysian hardwoods, acacia (Acacia mangium Wild) and sesendok (Endospermum malaccense Bent ex Müll. Arg.) was studied over a narrow temperature range (20–40°C). The rate of sorption or desorption of water into or out of the wood cell wall was considered to be limited by the viscoelastic behaviour of the material and the sorption kinetics was accordingly analysed in terms of a canonical series of Kelvin-Voigt elements. A two series and three series model have been applied to the kinetic data and the results are compared. Characteristic times and moisture contents were obtained from the models. The Arrhenius equation was used in conjunction with the reciprocals of the characteristic times to calculate the activation energy and activation entropy of sorption, and the Gibbs free energy of activation for the sorption process was also determined. This is the first time that entropy of activation and Gibbs free energy of activation for sorption processes with wood have been reported. Interpretation of these data invokes a model describing the polymeric relaxation processes occurring within the cell wall during adsorption or desorption. A possible link between sorption kinetics, polymeric relaxation processes, and sorption hysteresis is discussed.
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