Melamine-formaldehyde (MF) resin impregnation has shown considerable potential to improve a number of wood properties, such as surface hardness and weathering resistance. In this study, selected factors influencing the uptake of MF resin into the cell wall of softwood were studied. Using UV-microspectroscopy, it could be shown that water soluble MF diffused well into the secondary cell wall and the middle lamella. Concentrations as high as 24% (v/v) were achieved after an impregnation of 20 h. High cell wall moisture content, high water content of the resin used for impregnation, and low extractive content are factors which are favourable for MF resin uptake into the cell wall. For dry cell walls, solvent exchange drying improved resin uptake to a similar extent, as was the case when cell walls were soaked in water. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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