The effect of wood extractives on the thermal stability of different wood species
This study compares the thermal stability of different wood species, which is an important factor for the production of wood-polymer composites (WPCs), and investigates the effect of extraction on thermal properties. The chemical composition of four wood species - Quercus alba, Pinus radiata, Eucalyptus grandis and Acacia cyclops - has been determined, as the species is expected to affect the thermal stability of wood. Subsequently, the hot-water (HW) extractives, ethanol/cyclohexane (E/C) extractives and both extractives were eliminated from the wood via Soxhlet extraction and the thermal stability of the wood determined with thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) under identical conditions. The results suggest that a higher cellulose and lignin content leads to better thermal stability of wood in different temperature regimes. In all cases, the removal of extractives improved the thermal stability of the wood. The effect of combined extractions was more pronounced than of an individual extraction and E/C-extraction caused less improvement in the thermal stability of wood than HW extraction. The degradation of the investigated wood extractives occurred at low rates over a broad temperature range. Pure cellulose exhibited superior thermal stability compared to wood, but differences were observed between the investigated wood species. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.