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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 26, 2015

Assessment of wood microstructural changes after one-stage thermo-hydro treatment (THT) by micro X-ray computed tomography

  • Vladimirs Biziks EMAIL logo , Jan Van den Bulcke , Juris Grinins , Holger Militz , Bruno Andersons , Ingeborga Andersone , Jelle Dhaene and Joris Van Acker
From the journal Holzforschung


The microstructural changes in a selection of softwoods and hardwoods resulting from thermo-hydro treatment (THT) at 160°C were examined by means of a state-of-the-art micro X-ray computed tomography. A dedicated X-ray scanning and volumetric processing protocol was developed. All reconstructed volumes had an approximate voxel pitch between 0.8 and 1.2 μm3. The microstructures of the same needle-shaped specimens before and after THT were visualized, and the individual parameters (maximum opening and lumen volume) for various cell types were quantified and compared. The highest values of substance volume were recorded for the ash sapwood (81%) and spruce specimens (72%). After THT, a significant correlation was found between the mass loss determined by gravimetry and the X-ray volume loss. The largest change occurred in the lumen volume of several tissue components, such as libriform fibers, tracheids, and ray parenchyma. The average aspen fiber volume reduction after THT was 31%, a value 2.6 times higher than the volume reduction of the average vessels. The porosity of ash sapwood increased from 41 to 56%, whereas the porosity of birch decreased from 34 to 29%.

Corresponding author: Vladimirs Biziks, Latvian State Institute of Wood Chemistry, 27 Dzerbenes str., Riga 1006, Latvia, e-mail:


The authors express their appreciation to COST Action FP0802, FP0904, and FP1006, specifically to its chairs Professor Karin de Borst, Professor Parviz Navi, and Dr. Stefanie Wieland, for providing financial support for the STSMs. We also thank all members of the Laboratory of Wood Technology (Woodlab) at the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University (UGent) for their help.


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Received: 2014-11-13
Accepted: 2015-3-3
Published Online: 2015-3-26
Published in Print: 2016-2-1

©2016 by De Gruyter

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