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Physical and Mechanical Properties of Thermally-Modified Beech Wood Impregnated with Silver Nano-Suspension and Their Relationship with the Crystallinity of Cellulose

Siavash Bayani, Hamid R. Taghiyari, Antonios N. Papadopoulos
Published: 20 September 2019
 by  MDPI
Polymers , Volume 11; doi:10.3390/polym11101538

Abstract: The aim of this study was to investigate the physical and mechanical properties of thermally modified beech wood impregnated with silver nano-suspension and to examine their relationship with the crystallinity of cellulose. Specimens were impregnated with a 400 ppm nanosilver suspension (NS); at least, 90% of silver nano-particles ranged between 20 and 100 nano-meters. Heat treatment took place in a laboratory oven at three temperatures, namely 145, 165, and 185 °C. Physical properties and mechanical properties of treated wood demonstrated statistically insignificant fluctuations at low temperatures compared to control specimens. On the other hand, an increase of temperature to 185 °C had a significant effect on all properties. Physical properties (volumetric swelling and water absorption) and mechanical properties (MOR and MOE) of treated wood demonstrated statistically insignificant fluctuations at low temperatures compared to control specimens. This degradation ultimately resulted in significant decrease in MOR, impact strength, and physical properties. However, thermal modification at 185 °C did not seem to cause significant fluctuations in MOE and compression strength parallel to grain. As a consequence of the thermal modification, part of amorphous cellulose was changed to crystalline cellulose. At low temperatures an increased crystallinity caused some of the properties to be improved. Crystallinity also demonstrated a decrease in NS-HT185 in comparison to HT185 treatment. TCr indices in specimens thermally treated at 145 °C revealed a significant increase as a result of impregnation with nanosilver suspension. This improvement in TCr index resulted in a noticeable increase in MOR and MOE values. Other properties did not show significant fluctuations, suggesting that the effect of the increased crystallinity and cross-linking in lignin was more than the negative effect of the low cell-wall polymer degradation caused by thermal modification. Change of amorphous cellulose to crystalline cellulose, as well as cross-linking in lignin, partially ameliorated the negative effects of thermal degradation at higher temperatures and therefore, compression parallel to grain and modulus of elasticity did not decrease significantly. Overall, it can be concluded that increased crystallinity and cross-linking in lignin can compensate for some decreased properties caused by thermal modification, but it would be significantly dependent on the temperature under which modification is carried out. Impregnating specimens with silver nano-suspension prior to thermal modification enhanced the effects of thermal modification as a result of improved thermal conductivity.
Keywords: cellulose / crystallinity / Thermal Modification / Mechanical and Physical Properties / Nanocompounds

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