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Wang, X., Liu, J., and Chai, Y. (2012). "Thermal, mechanical, and moisture absorption properties of wood-TiO2 composites prepared by a sol-gel process," BioRes. 7(1), 893-901.

Abstract

Wood-TiO2 (titania) composites were prepared by a sol-gel process, in which wood was impregnated with the precursor solutions prepared from tetrabutyl titanate (TBT), followed by a curing step. The surface morphology and moisture absorption behavior of the wood composites, as well as their thermal and mechanical performances, were examined. Environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) analysis revealed that TiO2 gels were deposited principally in the cell lumens and partly in the cell walls, as confirmed by the energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis. By this inorganic modification, the hygroscopicity of wood was significantly reduced and its dimensional stability was improved consequently. Greater amounts of TiO2 gel deposited in the cell lumens were not helpful in enhancing the hygroscopicity of wood. Thermal analysis (TG-DTA) showed that the incorporation of TiO2 gel retarded the thermal decomposition of wood matrix and improved the thermal stability of wood. The incorporated inorganic gel seemed to stiffen the wood cell walls, as indicated by the increased resistance of the wood composites to deformation and collapse in compression.
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