Environmentally Friendly Chemical Modification of Four Wood Species by Glycerol–Maleic Anhydride Treatment: Physical, Mechanical, and Biological Assessment

Document Type : Original Article


1 Alexandria University, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Forestry and Wood Technology, Alexandria, Egypt

2 Alexandria University, Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry and Wood Technology Department

3 Department of Forestry and Wood Technology, Faculty of Agriculture, Alexandria University, Egypt.

4 Alexandria University, Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry and Wood Technology Department.


This research aimed to assess the improvements in dimensional stability and resistance to wood decay by treating the wood with a solution of glycerol–maleic anhydride mixture (GLY-MA) without a catalyst, at four concentrations (10%, 15%, 20%, and 25%), followed by heat treatment at 170 °C for 4 h. Four wood species were selected for property testing: two locally grown in Egypt, namely Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima, heartwood) and Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens, sapwood), and two imported species, European beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Norway spruce (Picea abies), both heartwood. The treatment conditions reported here proved the effectiveness in enhancing the stabilization against water absorption for all four wood species. All four concentrations improved dimensional stability, with the highest improvement observed with the 25% treatment for all wood species. Although the treatments had a slight effect on decreasing compressive strength and hardness, a clear significant difference was observed at a concentration of 25% compared to untreated samples. The hardness at a 25% concentration was 4434.7 N, 2440 N, 5220 N, and 1440 N for Tree of heaven, Cypress, Beech, and Spruce, respectively. Across all species studied, the use of the four concentrations demonstrated a shift in wood resistance against white rot and brown rot fungi from non-resistant to moderately resistant. Therefore, in terms of cost-effectiveness, it is recommended to use the low concentration, 10% to enhance decay resistance, as this concentration effectively achieves the desired outcome without the need for higher concentrations, in addition to being environmentally friendly.


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