Improvement of Hydrophobicity and Dimensional Stability of Thermally Modified Southern Pine Wood Pretreated with Oleic Acid

Yuan Zhu, Wang Wang, Jinzhen Cao


The present work used a combined approach of oleic acid (OA) impregnation and thermal modification to improve the hydrophobicity and dimensional stability of southern pine (Pinus spp.). The wood samples were first treated with OA at a concentration of 5 or 10%, and then underwent thermal modification at 160, 180, or 200 °C. Thereafter, the water-related properties of modified wood including water absorption (WA), equilibrium moisture content (EMC), and volumetric swelling (VS) were investigated. Alterations in cell wall structure and chemical components were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), based on the mechanisms discussed. While the results showed that both OA-treatment and thermal modification can each improve the water repellency and dimensional stability of wood, the combined system proved to be more effective. The synergistic increase of water-related properties was assumed to be caused by OA increasing the hydrophobicity of thermally modified wood as well as accelerating the decomposition of hydrophilic wood components during thermal modification. This assumption was supported by both SEM and FTIR results. Therefore, this research provides an approach for improving the accessibility to the energy-efficient thermal modification.


Dimensional stability; Oleic acid; Thermal modification; Hydrophobicity; Southern pine

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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