Heat treatment (HT) is thought to degrade wood surface wettability and cause gluing problems; this study focused on wettability and surface strength of the surface layer on heat-treated wood. The outer and inner surfaces formed by removing the 1-, 2- and 3-mm surface layers of heat-treated poplar on the tangential section were investigated. Dynamic wetting was analyzed according to the sessile drop method. The bonding failure models on different surfaces were also discussed based on both images of macro- and microscopic fracture interfaces. Using Fourier-transform near-infrared spectroscopy (FT-NIR), the cell wall chemistry on both outer and inner surfaces were analyzed. The results showed that the bonding strength of the outer surface was mainly affected by wettability, whereas the surface strength became the key factor for the inner layers. The removal of the first 1 mm of the surface layer enhanced the wetting process and transferred the failure mode from the glue line to the wood itself. FT-NIR revealed that the intensity of the thermal degradation on inner layers was alleviated with the removal depth; wettability and surface strength were enhanced compared with the outer surface. Surface abrasion and hardness declined, decreasing the surface strength and bonding capacity. This study indicates that the bonding of heat-treated wood is truly affected by the surface strength of the inner layers, in addition to the wettability on the outer surface.
Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.
Research funding: This work was supported by the Forestry Public Welfare Project Foundation of China (201404502); the China Scholarship Council (CSC) scholarship.
Employment or leadership: None declared.
Honorarium: None declared.
Conflict of interests: The authors declare no conflict of interests.
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