Magnetic Resonance Studies of Thermally Modified Wood

Hanne Sivonen, Sirkka L. Maunu, Franciska Sundholm, Saila Jämsä, Pertti Viitaniemi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

290 Citations (Scopus)


Thermal modification of wood produces a wood material with many interesting properties, such as enhanced dimensional stability, lower equilibrium moisture content and increased biological durability. Changes in the chemical structure of pine (Pinus sylvestris) caused by thermal treatment were investigated by studying various components of wood using 13C CPMAS NMR spectroscopy. Electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy on the same set of samples was used to study the formation and stability of free radicals formed during the treatment.
The most remarkable changes revealed by solid state NMR were the increase in relative crystallinity of cellulose and destruction and deacetylation of hemicelluloses. Changes in the lignin fraction were mostly registered as diminishment in the methoxyl content, although the intensity of the aromatic region increased relative to the carbohydrate fraction during the treatment.
Increase in the intensities of the ESR signals from thermally treated wood samples proves the formation of stable free radicals. In addition, radical formation is believed to take part in condensation reactions leading to crosslinks within the lignin and possibly between lignin and other wood components.
Both of the methods used indicate that the changes are most remarkable when the treatment temperature is over 200°C.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)648-654
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2002
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Pinus sylvestris
  • thermally modified wood
  • C CPMAS NMR spectroscopy
  • crystallinity index
  • dipolar dephasing
  • ESR spectroscopy
  • free radicals


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