The Effect of Heat Treatment on the Moisture Absorption Characteristics of Cu-Impregnated Masson’s Pine Wood

Lamei Li, Guijun Xie, Wanju Li, Yixin Li, Xingwei Li


The accumulation of water inside wood creates a favorable environment not only for molds, but also for wood-decaying fungi and insects. Therefore, the ability to limit water adsorption and retention is key to the longevity and performance of wood. In this study, the effect of heat-treatment and Cu nanoparticle (CuNP) impregnation on surface contact angle, specific surface area, and hygroscopicity of Masson’s pine wood was examined. Heat-treatment caused thermal degradation of hydroxyl-rich biopolymers, leading to an increase in hydrophobicity; while the resulting breakdown and blockage of the interior cell cavity network caused a decrease in effective surface area. In turn, the hygroscopicity of the heat-treated wood was considerably lower than the untreated wood. Analysis of water adsorption isotherms enabled the differentiation between bound water and free water, where the latter was a prerequisite for mold growth. The research showed that the amount of free water was reduced by both impregnation with CuNP and heat-treatment, but the previously observed antimicrobial activity was shown to rely on the presence of CuNPs as opposed to the reduced free water content. This study presented a detailed methodology for the preparation and analysis of heat-treated, CuNP-impregnated wood, and provided further insight into the mechanism of antimicrobial action of treated woods.


Heat treatment; Masson’s pine; Hygroscopicity; Specific surface area; Water contact angle; Dynamic moisture adsorption

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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