Retification® is a heat treatment which decreases the swelling of wood and increases its resistance to fungal attack. In this study, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) was applied in order to determine the fiber saturation point (FSP) of natural and retified® wood. FSP values were used to determine the total swelling of natural and heat-treated wood. The DSC method was compared to the volumetric shrinkage approach. The influence of the heat treatment temperature and duration on the swelling of wood was investigated. Relationships between chemical changes and the reduction of swelling were analysed thoroughly. The equivalence of the DSC method and the volumetric shrinkage method is shown. FSP in association with anhydrous density is a good indicator for the evaluation of the overall swelling of heat-treated wood. Reduction of wood swelling with increasing temperature and duration of thermal treatment is often attributed to hemicelluloses destruction. This study shows that the reduction of beech wood swelling can not only be attributed to the disappearing of adsorption sites that goes with the hemicelluloses destruction. It is suggested that other phenomena such as structural modifications and chemical changes of lignin also play an important part.
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