Journal Article Effects of natural and artificial ageing on the physical and acoustic properties of wood in musical instruments


The reversible and irreversible effects of natural and artificial hydrothermal ageing are reviewed with respect to the hygroscopicity and acoustic properties relevant to the practical quality of wooden musical instruments. Long-term natural ageing reduces the hygroscopicity of wood while improving its acoustic quality, but these changes are partly reversible by exposure to high humidity. Similar reversible changes are observed in hydrothermally treated wood, especially when the wood is heated at an intermediate relative humidity. These reversible changes are attributed to the annealing-like rearrangement of amorphous wood polymers or the temporary closure of micropores, but further investigation is necessary. Color change resulting from natural ageing is shown to be successfully reproducible by oven-heating.

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