Industrial Validation of the Relationship between Color Parameters in Thermally Modified Spruce and Pine

Petteri Torniainen, Diego Elustondo, Ola Dagbro


Thermal modification causes the darkening of wood throughout its cross-section because of chemical changes in the wood. After treatment, naturally light wood species look darker or even tropical, depending predominantly on the treatment temperature and processing time. This study investigates the suitability of using color measurement to determine treatment intensity at the industrial scale. The color was determined using the L*, a*, and b* color space, also referred to as CIELab, and the relationship between lightness (L*) and the color parameters (a*) and (b*) was investigated for thermal modification treatments at 190 and 212 °C. The wood species studied were pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and spruce (Picea abies L.). The results showed that yellowness (+b*) and redness (+a*) had a significant prediction ability for class treatments at 190 and 212 °C, respectively. After treatment, there were no noticeable differences in color between the species, but sapwood was darker than heartwood in both untreated and thermally modified wood. The thickness of the boards had a proportionally darkening effect on the color values.


Thermal modification; Color measurement; CIELab; Quality control; Scots pine; Norway spruce

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