chapter  15
62 Pages

Chemical Modi‹cation of Wood

For the most part, we have designed and used wood putting up with the “natural defects” that nature has given to us, such as dimensional instability and the degradations due to weathering, ‹re, and decay. Wood is a hygroscopic resource that was designed to perform, in nature, in a wet environment. Nature is programmed to recycle wood in a timely way through biological, thermal, aqueous, photochemical, chemical, and mechanical degradations. In simple terms, nature builds wood from carbon dioxide and water and has all the tools to recycle it back to the starting chemicals. We harvest a green tree and convert it into dry products, and nature, with its arsenal of degrading chemistries, starts to reclaim it at its ‹rst opportunity.