Selected methods for characterisation of wood and lignocellulosic composites

Subject description

Wood is defined as a secondary xylem in biological sense, and as a polymer composite in a technical sense. Wood exhibits extremely high interspecific variability, which gets highly complex due to variability within the species and even within an individual tree. Although wood is in general composed of structural polymers cellulose, lignin and hemicelluloses, their content and distribution in the wall of individual cells represent an additional factor in material variability. However, wood is not only variable and inhomogeneous material but anisotropic as well. In addition to macromolecules, wood contains relatively small amount of low molecular weight compounds, which in turn, have a high impact on wood properties.


Wood is an extremely complicated research object due to its structural and chemical variability and heterogeneity. Hence, the system of sampling, preparation of material and application of commonly accepted methods demand a specific approach.


The purpose of this course is to provide a short introduction regarding the selected techniques and methods to the PhD students. The methods will be selected from the pool of methods  that are available at the Department of Wood Science and Technology, and methods that are available to us on the basis of agreements with partner organizations. The students will gain an overview of their suitability and their advantages and disadvantages when applied on wood and lignocellulosic materials. In the first step, the methods will be introduced by lecturers  who are regularly using them in their research work. The most important methods are: various techniques of light microscopy , spectroscopic methods (FTIR, XRF, NMR, AAS, TOC, CNS, UV- Vis…) , methods of thermal analysis (DSC, TGA …) , chromatographic methods (TLC , HPLC), extraction methods, methods of wet chemistry, methods for surface analysis, microbiological methods, destructive and non-destructive mechanical testing, rheological methods, methods to control humidity of wood …


In agreement with a lecturer and the proposed supervisor and based on the planned research plan, a student will select few methods and theoretically and practically apply them to the selected problem.


This course is not dedicated to wood only, but also to the analysis of other lignocellulosic materials, such as plant fibers, paper, hemp, miscanthus …

The subject is taught in programs

Objectives and competences

The aim of this course is to inform students with selected methods for the analysis of wood, wood based composites, and various other lignocellulosic materials. Students will be informed both on theoretical foundations as well as on possible applications of the selected methods on wood or wood based materials. The topic of the course will be about both the advantages and limitations of the selected methods.



Each method will be applied on a real case. These methods will enable students to perform independent research in the frame of their future research work.

Teaching and learning methods

Seminar (10 h)

Laboratory work (15 h)

Expected study results

Knowledge and Understanding:

To learn about the most important research methods that are available for the analysis of wood and lignocellulosic composites.



To evaluate Critically the suitability of particular research methods in order to achieve the research objective.



To use the chosen methods on the problem of their own and apply them on a case study in the laboratory. To learn how to choose the appropriate method to confirm selected hypotheses.

Basic sources and literature

Skoog D. A., Holler F. J., Crouch S. R. 2006. Principles of instrumental analysis. Thomson Higher education, Belmont, 529 p. ISBN-13: 978-0495012016


Merritt W., Settle  D. 2013. Instrumental Methods of Analysis Wadsworth Publishing Company, Wadsworth. 895 p. ISBN: 0534081428


Bucur V. 2003. Nondestructive Characterization and Imaging of Wood. Springer. Berlin. 354 p. ISBN: 978-3-662-08986-6


Študentom bo na razpolago tudi gradivo s predavanj in vaj v elektronski obliki. Gradivo bo objavljeno pred začetkom predavanj na spletni strani. Za izdelavo seminarskih nalog in dodatno razumevanje vsebin bodo študentje uporabili tudi svetovni splet (internet).

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