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International Journal of the Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Technology of Wood

Editor-in-Chief: Faix, Oskar

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Volume 70, Issue 9 (Sep 2016)


Prediction of tensile strength in iron-contaminated archaeological wood by FT-IR spectroscopy – a study of degradation in recent oak and Vasa oak

Gunnar Almkvist
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Box 7015, SE-750 07, Uppsala, Sweden
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Shahin Norbakhsh
  • Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Box 7015, SE-750 07, Uppsala, Sweden
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Ingela Bjurhager
  • The Ångström Laboratory, Department of Engineering Sciences, Uppsala University, Box 534, SE-751 21 Uppsala, Sweden
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Kurt Varmuza
  • Institute of Statistics and Mathematical Methods in Economics, Vienna University of Technology, Wiedner Hauptstr. 8-10/E105, 1040 Vienna, Austria
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  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2016-03-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/hf-2015-0223


Oak from the Swedish warship Vasa and recent oak that was aged after impregnation with iron(II) chloride has been analyzed by FT-IR spectroscopy and submitted to tensile strength testing. The aim was to investigate correlations between FT-IR bands in the fingerprint region, chemical degradation, and tensile strength in iron contaminated oak. The concentration of carboxylic functions increased and the acetyl groups in the hemicellulose fraction were decreasing as a function of degradation time. These changes are accompanied by reduced tensile strength and elevated content of oxalic acid (OA) in both Vasa wood and the impregnated recent oak samples. To evaluate the possibility to predict tensile strength from spectral data, chemometric modeling by partial least-squares (PLS) regression was applied. The strategy of repeated double cross validation (rdCV) allowed a realistic prediction of tensile strength. Overall, chemical changes and mechanical performances of iron contaminated wood are strongly correlated and thus FT-IR spectroscopy is suited to predict the strength properties of the degraded wood.

Keywords: degradation; FT-IR; iron compounds; oak; PLS; rdCV; tensile strength; Vasa; waterlogged wood

Correction note:

Correction added after online publication on March 18, 2016: The original third sentence of the Abstract was: The concentration of carboxylic functions and the acetyl groups in the hemicellulose fraction were decreasing as a function of degradation time.


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About the article

Corresponding author: Gunnar Almkvist, Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Box 7015, SE-750 07, Uppsala, Sweden

Received: 2015-10-16

Accepted: 2016-02-16

Published Online: 2016-03-18

Published in Print: 2016-09-01

Citation Information: Holzforschung, ISSN (Online) 1437-434X, ISSN (Print) 0018-3830, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/hf-2015-0223.

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