Journal of Wood Science

, Volume 56, Issue 2, pp 87–94 | Cite as

Three mechanisms affecting the mechanical properties of spruce wood dried at high temperatures

  • Marc BorregaEmail author
  • Petri P. Kärenlampi
Original Article


Wood drying experiments are conducted in which the temperature and the drying rate are controlled independently. In relationship to drying processes, at least three mechanisms are believed to contribute to the properties of dried wood. However, only two of these are found to affect the properties of macroscopic specimens, the third mechanism being observable in microtomed earlywood sections, and possibly in specimens loaded in the radial direction. Degradation of structural components and irreversible hydrogen bonding (hornification) are found to contribute to both the hygroscopicity and the mechanical properties of macroscopic wood specimens. Mass loss from thermal degradation occurs predominantly in slow high-temperature drying processes. Irreversible hydrogen bonding takes place in high-temperature drying, in particular with high ultimate dryness. Regarding the effect on strength and stiffness, mass loss and hornification appear to compete. The third identified mechanism, microscopic cell wall damage caused by incompatible drying shrinkage of cell wall elements, does not seem to affect the mechanical properties of macroscopic wood specimens. Consequently, slow high-temperature drying processes do not provide much benefit regarding the mechanical behavior of dried wood. The reasons for this are discussed.

Key words

Drying damage Hornification Mass loss Mechanical properties Wood 


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Copyright information

© The Japan Wood Research Society 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Forest SciencesUniversity of JoensuuJoensuuFinland

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