Wood Science and Technology

, Volume 47, Issue 6, pp 1285–1319 | Cite as

A review of wood thermal pretreatments to improve wood composite properties

  • Manuel Raul Pelaez-Samaniego
  • Vikram YadamaEmail author
  • Eini Lowell
  • Raul Espinoza-Herrera


The objective of this paper is to review the published literature on improving properties of wood composites through thermal pretreatment of wood. Thermal pretreatment has been conducted in moist environments using hot water or steam at temperatures up to 180 and 230 °C, respectively, or in dry environments using inert gases at temperatures up to 240 °C. In these conditions, hemicelluloses are removed, crystallinity index of cellulose is increased, and cellulose degree of polymerization is reduced, while lignin is not considerably affected. Thermally modified wood has been used to manufacture wood–plastic composites, particleboard, oriented strand board, binderless panels, fiberboard, waferboard, and flakeboard. Thermal pretreatment considerably reduced water absorption and thickness swelling of wood composites, which has been attributed mainly to the removal of hemicelluloses. Mechanical properties have been increased or sometimes reduced, depending on the product and the conditions of the pretreatment. Thermal pretreatment has also shown to improve the resistance of composites to decay.


Lignin Hemicellulose Internal Bonding Steam Explosion Medium Density Fiberboard 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This project was funded through the USDA Forest Service Research and Development Woody Biomass, Bioenergy, and Bioproducts 2009 Grant Program. M.R. Pelaez-Samaniego acknowledges the Fulbright Faculty Development Program Scholarship.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manuel Raul Pelaez-Samaniego
    • 1
    • 2
  • Vikram Yadama
    • 3
    • 6
    Email author
  • Eini Lowell
    • 4
  • Raul Espinoza-Herrera
    • 5
  1. 1.Biological Systems Engineering DepartmentWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  2. 2.Faculty of Chemical SciencesUniversidad de CuencaCuencaEcuador
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  4. 4.USDA Forest ServicePacific Northwest Research StationPortlandUSA
  5. 5.Faculty of Wood TechnologyUniversidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de HidalgoMoreliaMexico
  6. 6.Composite Materials and Engineering CenterWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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