Changes in Cell Wall Dimensions during the Different Stages of Furfuryl Alcohol Modification

Nadine Herold, Claudia Lenz, Alexander Pfriem


Furfuryl alcohol modification of wood is a well-known process for wood property enhancement. The present project focuses on veneer molding for high-value applications using the plasticizing effect of furfuryl alcohol. Adding maleic anhydride to furfuryl alcohol leads to an acid-catalyzed polymerization of furfuryl alcohol at elevated temperatures, fixing the shape of the veneer. In contrast to water or water vapor treatment, furfuryl alcohol-modified cell walls face a lower degree of shrinkage due to the polymer formation and possibly experience less drying-induced cracks. Earlier studies show a distinct influence of maleic anhydride on the curing of furfuryl alcohol. To determine the impact of different maleic anhydride contents on the polymer formation and the corresponding shrinkage of wood cell walls, microscopic studies were carried out on various maple microtome sections (Acer sp.), i.e., when dry, water-impregnated, after furfuryl alcohol impregnation, and after curing at elevated temperatures. At each state, the cell walls of 30 appointed early wood cells were determined by cell wall area measurements. The lowest shrinkage of impregnated samples was realized by using 10 wt% maleic anhydride in the impregnation solution and after 48 h soaking. Here, cell wall shrinkage could be reduced by approx. 42.6% compared to water-impregnation.


Furfuryl alcohol modification; Maleic anhydride content; Microscopy; Plasticization; Shrinkage; Wood cell wall

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Welcome to BioResources! This online, peer-reviewed journal is devoted to the science and engineering of biomaterials and chemicals from lignocellulosic sources for new end uses and new capabilities. The editors of BioResources would be very happy to assist you during the process of submitting or reviewing articles. Please note that logging in is required in order to submit or review articles. Martin A. Hubbe, (919) 513-3022,; Lucian A. Lucia, (919) 515-7707, URLs:; ISSN: 1930-2126