Humidity-dependence of the hydroxyl accessibility in Norway spruce wood

Michael Altgen*, Lauri Rautkari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
90 Downloads (Pure)


Abstract: This study aimed at a better understanding of the wood-water interaction, in particular the role of the hydroxyl accessibility during the humidity-dependent change in moisture content. Thin sections (80 µm) of never-dried Norway spruce sapwood that contained early- and latewood were used for the experiments. Sorption isotherm measurements confirmed the humidity-dependent moisture content changes and the effect of the first drying of the wood sections. Changes in hydroxyl accessibility were then determined by deuteration of the sections using deuterium oxide, followed by their re-protonation in water (H2O) vapor at different relative humidity: 15, 55 or 95%. The deuteration and re-protonation of the wood sections were quantified by dry mass changes as well as by changes in the OH and OD stretching vibrations in the Fourier transform infrared spectra. The results showed that the deuterated sections could be almost completely re-protonated in H2O vapor, nearly irrespective of the applied relative humidity. Therefore, changes in hydroxyl accessibility were not the driving force for the humidity-dependent changes in moisture content. However, a slow re-protonation rate at low relative humidity had to be considered. Nonetheless, a small quantity of OD groups persisted the re-protonation in H2O vapor and liquid H2O, which was not related to the drying of the wood. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-58
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Early online date30 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Deuterium exchange
  • DVS
  • FT-IR spectroscopy
  • Sorption
  • Wood


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