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  • Author: Jeffrey J. Morrell x
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Abstract

The ability of boron to diffuse from fused boron rods into surrounding wood was investigated on pentachlorophenol-treated Douglas-fir poles. Boron readily diffused into the wood surrounding the treatment holes and was present at protective levels in most poles within 1 year after application. The protected zone was generally confined to the treatment zone. Effective levels of boron were still present in this zone 15 years after treatment. Attempts to correlate the presence of decay fungi with residual boron levels indicated that these fungi were sometimes present in zones with boron at the lower threshold level of 0.5 kg m-3 boric acid equivalent (BAE), but most of the isolations could be explained by localized variations in distribution. Boron rods provided excellent long term protection against internal decay in Douglas-fir poles.

Abstract

Air-seasoning is a simple method for moisture management in utility poles prior to treatment, but it involves the risk of fungal invasion during drying. These fungi can be eliminated by heat treatment, but fungi surviving in the installed poles are a quality problem. In this context, the incidence of decay fungi was investigated in 963 creosote-treated Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) poles of varying ages in a utility system in Ireland. Thirty-seven percent of increment cores removed from the poles contained at least one viable basidiomycete. There was no relationship between pole age or distance above the groundline and fungal isolations. Phlebiopsis gigantea, a white rot fungus, was the most common isolate followed by Neolentinus lepideus and Sistotrema brinkmannii. The results highlight the importance of including a sterilizing process during treatment and maintaining quality controls when purchasing large numbers of poles.

Abstract

Weight loss, specific gravity and strength are traditional measures of how wood changes after fungal exposure. This study investigated the effects of fungal decay on properties of oriented strand board (OSB) made of aspen including weight loss, specific gravity, dowel-bearing strength, shear strength, and alkali solubility. Shear strength and alkali solubility were strongly correlated with specific gravity. In addition, X-ray densitometry and near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy were used to study the decay process. X-Ray densitometry was used to assess localized density around the dowel-bearing embedment zone of a nail. A statistical model using the specific gravity directly under the nail from dowel-bearing strength tests as the explanatory variable had a higher coefficient of determination than models using the gross specific gravity of the sample. Predictive models using NIR spectro-scopy, in combination with multivariate statistical methods, showed promise as predictors of weight loss, shear strength, dowel-bearing strength, and solubility.

Abstract

Wood poles are a critical part of the electrical transmission system in North America. Wood poles are normally selected on the basis of visual features such as knots, slope of grain or other defects, but there is currently no simple, nondestructive bending (NDB), pre-flexural testing for sorting poles prior to use. In the present paper, the potential for NDB based on bending below the proportional limit was examined to calculate modulus of elasticity (MOE) and thereby predict actual modulus of rupture as determined by destructive bending (MORDB). The investigation was performed on 92 full length 13.3-m long Douglas-fir pole sections. Pre-flexural testing was reasonably correlated with MOEDB, but less well correlated with MORDB. The testing also revealed that visual selection of the best face of a pole, which is used to select a pole oriented to line direction (the “best face”), was poorly correlated with pre-flexing. Increasing the number of NDB tests did not noticeably improve the prediction. The results suggest that pre-flexing might be useful for identifying poles’ performance in service, if more data are available.

Abstract

The leaching of toxins from treated wood poses an, as yet, poorly quantified risk to both plant and animal life. In particular, the leaching of pentachlorophenol (PCP) into rainwater falling on treated wood over aquatic environments, such as bridges, is understudied. Computer models have been developed which predict the leaching of creosote from marine pilings. If data were available, similar models could be developed for PCP-treated bridges and the risk to waterways determined for various structural designs. Providing such data is the objective of this study, where the migration of PCP from treated wood under the influence of simulated rainfall was studied using a simulation system that delivered uniform rainfall rates over-treated wood. The runoff from the treated wood was captured and analyzed with high resolution gas chromatography combined with low resolution mass spectrometry. PCP migrated from treated wood into rainwater runoff at a fairly constant rate of approximately 0.15 g l-1 m-2. Small non-significant deviations were observed with rainfall rate, time, and temperature. We suggest that PCP migration rates from exposed treated wood can be modeled and thereby predict the migration of PCP from this source into the environment.

Abstract

Wood extractives are considered the major factor determining the natural durability of wood. Attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy was assessed for rapid determination of western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis Hook. var. occidentalis) durability based on extractives in heartwood, sapwood-heartwood and sapwood regions. Durability was assessed by exposing samples to brown-rot decay fungi [Gloeophyllum trabeum (Pers.) Murrill and Rhodonia placenta (Fr.) Niemelä, K.H. Larss. & Schigel] or eastern subterranean termite (Reticulitermes flavipes Kollar). Durability classifications were compared to their extractive contents, along with ATR-FTIR spectra of extracted and unextracted blocks to establish relationships using hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) and principal component analysis (PCA). Western juniper durability varied with test organisms, but the majority of samples had high fungal and termite resistance. Moderate to weak connections were observed between durability and extractive content, but HCA and PCA analysis were unable to classify durability with accuracy. The absence of non-resistant samples may have influenced the ability of the chemometric methods to accurately categorize durability.