We investigated the adsorption/desorption mechanism of water and the variation of water adsorption for modern and archaeological wood using near-infrared spectroscopy. A mixture model of water was used to decompose the near-infrared difference spectra into three components (free water molecules (S<sub>0</sub>), those with one OH group engaged in hydrogen bonding (S<sub>1</sub>), and those with two OH groups engaged in hydrogen bonding (S<sub>2</sub>)) based on a principal component analysis. The variations of each water component with relative humidity could be explained by proposing a model that describes water absorption in three stages. It was concluded that the aging phenomenon in wood is due to the decrease of adsorption sites on hemicellulose and amorphous cellulose.
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