DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10853-015-9283-7

Abstract:   The hygroscopicity and thermodynamic properties of juvenile and mature wood of Abies alba Mill. were studied through the 15, 35 and 50 °C sorption isotherms. The Guggenheim, Anderson and de Boer-Dent model was used to fit the isotherms. The thermodynamic parameters were obtained from the sorption isotherms by applying the integration method of the Clausius–Clapeyron equation. The chemical composition of both types of wood (extractives, lignin and carbohydrate polymer-cellulose and hemicellulose-content) was determined, and infrared spectroscopy and X-ray diffractograms were used to identify any chemical modifications and changes in the crystal structure of the cell wall. The mature wood has more cellulose and hemicellulose content and less extractives content than the juvenile wood. The shorter crystallite length in the mature wood creates a higher amount of amorphous zones and, as a consequence, a higher number of access areas to the –OH groups. The combination of these phenomena explains the different hygroscopic behaviour between the juvenile and the mature wood, as the latter has higher moisture content in the three isotherms. As regards the thermodynamic properties, the amount of energy involved in the sorption process is greater in the mature wood than in the juvenile wood.