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Wood Research and Technology


Cellulose – Hemicelluloses – Lignin – Wood Extractives

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A study of thermo-hydro-treated (THT) birch wood by chemical analysis and Py-GC/MS

Ingeborga Andersone / Galina Dobele / Bruno Andersons / Nina Kurnosova / Edgars Kuka / Aleksandrs Volperts / Juris Grinins
Published Online: 2019-03-05 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/hf-2018-0169


The chemical changes in birch wood occurring at thermo-hydro treatment (THT) was studied at temperatures (T) of 150, 160 and 170°C by analytical pyrolysis [Py-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry/flame ionisation detector (GC/MS/FID)], elemental analysis and traditional wet-chemical analysis. THT wood (THTW) was also extracted with acetone. Mass losses (ML) due to THT and acetone extraction of THTW were considered for material balance calculations. The holocellulose and hemicellulose (HC) contents decrease with increasing THT temperature (THTT), thus the apparent lignin content is elevated by ca. 20%. The HC degradation begins at 150°C, while that of α-cellulose modification at 170°C. Compared to unmodified birch, the THT170°C material contains ca. 10% less α-cellulose and up to 40% less HC. The Py-GC/MS also indicates decreasing amounts of volatile products from polymeric carbohydrates (CHs) and lignin origin as a function of increasing THTT. The identified CH-based Py products of THT170°C of non-extracted (ne) and extracted (e) materials resulted in 13 and 22% weight decrements, respectively, while the lignin-type Py products were reduced by 13 and 49%, respectively. With increasing THTT, the total content of CO2, water and methanol decreases, and the amount of unidentified compounds increases by 30%.

This article offers supplementary material which is provided at the end of the article.

Keywords: analytical pyrolysis; birch wood; chemical analysis; thermo-hydro treatment


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About the article

Received: 2018-07-31

Accepted: 2019-01-16

Published Online: 2019-03-05

Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

Research funding: The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the European Regional Development Fund project “Wood with improved service properties due to combination of thermal modification and impregnation” No.

Employment or leadership: None declared.

Honorarium: None declared.

Citation Information: Holzforschung, 20180169, ISSN (Online) 1437-434X, ISSN (Print) 0018-3830, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/hf-2018-0169.

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