Review: interaction of water vapour with wood and other hygro-responsive materials

Callum Hill, Michael Altgen, Paavo Penttilä, Lauri Rautkari*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

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The purpose of this review is to report on the state-of-the-art on the interaction of moisture with natural materials and fabricated biomimetic functional materials, with an emphasis upon the hygro-responsive behaviour of wood. The primary objective is to examine how water sorption affects dimensional behaviour and how knowledge of this property in natural plant-based (mainly, but not exclusively wood) materials can be used to inform biomimetic design of moisture-responsive materials and devices. The study examines the literature on natural and bio-inspired materials, concentrating upon sorption kinetics, water migration and location of the sorbed water in the materials and their microstructure and mechanical response of the microstructure and how this affects molecular mobility of the sorbate translating to macrostructural changes. Also included within this review, it is an overview of the main experimental techniques which have been used to investigate the interaction of water with these materials at molecular length scales and how modern techniques can resolve the response of these materials at the cell wall level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7595-7635
Number of pages41
JournalJournal of Materials Science
Issue number18
Early online date25 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - May 2024
MoE publication typeA2 Review article, Literature review, Systematic review


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