Skip to main content

Official Journal of the Japan Wood Research Society

Journal of Wood Science Cover Image

Measurement of the uptake of linseed oil in pine by the use of an X-ray microdensitometry technique


Pine sapwood (Pinus sylvestris) was impregnated with linseed oil to three levels of uptake. The distribution of the penetrant was found by taking microdensity measurements of an impregnated sample and then using an ethanol extraction procedure to remove the linseed oil. A second set of X-ray measurements at identical locations in the same sample allowed the linseed oil to be indirectly mapped. An uneven distribution of linseed oil in the specimens with the lowest uptake (25% increase in weight) was seen as sharp gradients in the densitometry curves. With increased filling by the linseed oil, these gradients were gradually smoothed. Microstructural changes in specimens with high uptake were revealed using scanning electron microscopy. Through a combination of X-ray microdensitometry investigation and changes observed in the wood's mechanical properties and morphology, it was concluded that liquid flow during impregnation results in significant damage to the cell structure.


  1. 1.

    Schneider MH, Sharp AR (1982) A model for the uptake of linseed oil by wood. J Paint Technol 54:91–96

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Schneider MH (1979) Scanning electron microscope study of a coating component deposited from solution into wood. J Oil Col Chem 62:441–444

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Nussbaum RM, Sutcliffe EJ, Hellgren AC (1998) Microautoradiographic studies of the penetration of alkyd, alkyd emulsion and linseed oil coating into wood. J Coating Technol 70:49–57

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Peemoeller H, Schneider MH, Sharp AR (1984) Pulsed nuclear magnetic resonance measurement of the relative and absolute linseed oil content in wood. J Coating Technol 56:67–72

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Polge H (1978) Fifteen years of wood radiation densitometry. Wood Sci Technol 12:187–196

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Bucur V, Garros S, Navarrete A, deTroja MT, Guyonnet R (1997) Kinetics of wood degradation by fungi with X-ray microdensitometry technique. Wood Sci Technol 31:383–389

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Heger L, Parker ML, Kennedy RW (1974) X-ray densitometry: a technique and an example of application. Wood Sci 7:140–148

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Hoag M, Mckimmy MD (1988) Direct scanning X-ray densitometry of thin wood sections. For Prod J 38:23–26

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Cown DJ, Clement BC (1983) A wood densitometer using direct scanning with X-rays. Wood Sci Technol 17:91–99

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Peng F, Granfeldt T (1996) Changes in the microstructure of spruce wood chips after screw press treatment. J Pulp Paper Sci 22:140–145

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Megnis M, Olsson T, Varna J, Lindberg H (1999) Mechanical performance of linseed oil impregnated pine as correlated to the take up level. (Submitted)

  12. 12.

    Larsson B, Pernestål K, Jonsson B (1994) A wood sample preparation method for direct scanning X-ray microdensitometry. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences report 29. ISRN SLU-SKUPIN-R-29-SE

  13. 13.

    Erickson HD, Balatinecz JJ (1964) Liquid flow paths into wood using polymerization techniques: Douglas-fir and styréne. For Prod J 14:293–299

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Richter K, Sell J (1992) Studies on impregnation pathways in white fir (Abies alba). Holz Roh Werkstoff 50:329–336

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Phillips WWJ (1933) Movement of the pit membrane in coniferous woods, with special reference to preservative treatment. Forestry 7:109–120

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Liese W, Bauch J (1967) On the closure of bordered pits in conifers. Wood Sci Technol 1:1–13

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Dinwoodie JM (1981) Timber: its nature and behaviour. Van Nostrand Reinhold, London

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Schneider MH (1980) Hygroscopicity of wood impregnated with linseed oil. Wood Sci Technol 14:10–14

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Wallström L (1998) Cell wall bulking and distribution of different chemicals in pine, pinus sylvestris. Doctoral thesis, Luleå University of Technology

  20. 20.

    Flynn KA, Goodell BS (1996) Physical effects of the pulsation preservative treatment process on northeasthern red spruce (Picea rubens. Sarg). For Prod J 46:56–62

    Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Olsson T, Megnis M, Varna J, Lindberg H (1999) A study of the transverse liquid flow paths in pine and spruce using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). (Submitted)

  22. 22.

    Thuvander F, Berglund LA, Kifetew G (1998) Modeling of cell wall drying stresses in wood. In doctoral thesis, Luleá6 University of Technology, pp 29–53

  23. 23.

    Kifetew G, Thuvander F, Berglund LA, Lindberg KAH (1998) The effects of drying on wood fracture surfaces from specimens loaded in wet conditions. Wood Sci Technol 32:83–94

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tomas Olsson.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Olsson, T., Megnis, M., Varna, J. et al. Measurement of the uptake of linseed oil in pine by the use of an X-ray microdensitometry technique. J Wood Sci 47, 275–281 (2001).

Download citation

Key words

  • Impregnation
  • X-ray microdensitometry
  • Linseed oil
  • Microstructure
  • Damage