The objective of the study was to investigate whether soluble sugars and nitrogenous compounds in wood have an impact on susceptibility of wood to decay in ground contact, which is important in the field of test methodology and standardization.
Kiln drying of Scots pine planks caused a distinct gradient of low-molecular weight (LMW) sugars and nitrogenous compounds in the 0–2 mm zone at the surface of the timber, whereas the deeper zones had constant and low contents of soluble substances. Strips, containing different content of soluble nutrients, were cut and exposed in two types of soil; the former one being rich in soft rot fungi, the latter one being rich in soft rot fungi and bacteria.
The strips rich in nutrients showed an average of 16 % of mass loss whereas samples poorer in nutrients were less affected (8–9 %) after 120 days of exposure in the soil rich in soft rot fungi. A pure culture test with the soft rot fungus Phialophora mutabilis confirmed the above-mentioned observation. The result is in favour of taking samples with approximately equal content of soluble nutrients to decrease the variability of test results, e.g., mass losses.
The garden compost, rich in both soft rot fungi and bacteria, caused severe mass loss (40–48 %) of the strips after 120 days of exposure. No difference in the mass losses of the samples was measured. The choice of test soil as well as the nutrient status of the samples can lead to completely different results and, consequently, conclusions.
Wood “cell-wall deformation” is a comprehensive term describing any physical dislocation in the wall caused by mechanical forces. The development and effect of fibre dislocations on wood fibres, and their ultimate impact on the mechanical properties of paper remain rather obscure and controversial. Dislocations are difficult to quantify through a lack of defined measurable features, and research is aggravated by the inherent difficulties of applying statistical tools. A direct approach for studying the effect of dislocations on the mechanical properties of paper was used in this study. Dislocations in fibre cell walls were introduced by exposing whole wood fibres in mature and juvenile wood samples to compression stress. Sapwood samples of Norway spruce (Picea abies Karst.) were loaded by compression to their ultimate strength using an Alwetron-50 universal testing machine. Failure of samples conditioned to a moisture content of 9–15% always occurred in an oblique (relative to the fibre axis) plane and all fibres in the plane were deformed. When samples were loaded in a wet condition (i.e., moisture content close to the fibre saturation point), failure occurred at one end of the samples, resulting in highly disorganised fibres. Pulp and paper from the compressed fibres were produced and the mechanical properties of the paper were tested. Results of the mechanical tests were compared statistically to results derived from paper made from matched non-compressed control samples. Morphological features of fibres and dislocations after compression failure were characterised using microscopy (scanning electron microscopy, polarised light) on the whole wood and macerated fibres before and after paper testing. The above experimental approach showed that paper made from control samples had significantly better mechanical properties than paper made from samples loaded by compression under dry or wet conditions. At a tensile index of 90 N m/g, the tear index was measured as 23.6 mN m2/g for controls, while the corresponding values for compressed wet wood samples was 12.6 and 16.3 mN m2/g for samples at 9–15% moisture content. Paper made from juvenile wood also showed lower mechanical properties compared to controls. The results prove the negative effect of dislocations on the mechanical properties of paper in the worst case scenario and are of practical importance.
The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of a variety of abnormal fibres on the mechanical properties of paper made from Norway spruce, Picea abies (L.) Karst. Fibres representing abnormality were obtained from trees treated by irrigation and fertilisation. Moreover, fibres from compression wood and its accompanying opposite wood were isolated. The effect of dislocations on paper quality was studied on four mixtures (20, 40, 60 and 80% fibres with induced dislocations) of untreated/compressed fibres. Two more groups consisting of control untreated samples and samples with 100%-induced dislocations were also included in the test. The mechanical properties of the paper were tested and the results were compared to those of control samples. Abnormal fibres reduced the desired mechanical properties of the final paper concerning tensile strength, modulus of elasticity and tear-tensile index. Irrespective of the type of treatment, all morphological changes introduced in fibre cell walls appear to directly affect changes in the mechanical properties of the paper. Control samples had a tear index of 25 compared to 10 mN m2 g-1 of samples containing 100% dislocations. It is obvious that 20% of dislocations, an amount that is expected to be induced in pulp under mechanical processing and transport, will contribute to a decrease in tear index with an average of 3 mN m2 g-1, i.e., 10% of the total value.
Scots pine sapwood was treated with a new formulation consisting of vinyl acetate (VAc) and epoxidized linseed oil (ELO) catalyzed by potassium persulfate to impart protection to wood. The effects of various curing temperatures, durations, and solution uptakes on dimensional stability (DS) and leachability were studied. The new formulation provided good anti-swelling efficiency (ASE) ranging from 35% to 47% with negligible leaching of the treating agent after four cycles of water soaking and oven drying (2%–2.5%). The extent of polymerization in wood was observed by FTIR-attenuated total reflectance (FTIR-ATR) by evaluation of the areas below typical IR bands as a function of curing temperature and time. Linear relationships were found with high R2 values. The FTIR data of extracted samples were interpreted that chemical reactions took place between the resulting copolymer and wood components.
Axial compressive stresses can cause distortion of the cellulose fibril alignment in the wood cell wall. These deformations are thought to occur in the living tree and/or to develop during wood processing and seem to adversely affect the mechanical properties of pulp and paper and other fibre-based products. To characterise the influence of dislocations on the mechanical properties of the unmodified cell wall, dislocations were artificially created by applying high compression loads to wood blocks parallel to the fibre axis. Mechanically isolated fibres containing different levels of dislocations were then subjected to tensile tests. Comparison between micromechanical properties of reference fibres and fibres that were artificially loaded in compression revealed the importance of dislocations for the mechanics of both earlywood and latewood. However, the tensile strength (decrease ∼19% for earlywood and ∼26% for latewood) was less affected than expected from structural observations of the pre-compressed zones.
Experiments concerning drying behaviour of ntholo (Pseudolachnostylis maprounaefolia PAX) were conducted to find a suitable drying schedule. Two non-symmetrical drying (NSD) tests were carried out to determine the drying behaviour of ntholo in terms of drying rate and stress behaviour. A tentative drying schedule was selected for comparison of the test results with those of similar tests with other known species. The schedule was tested in a laboratory kiln on 28-mm thick boards. According to both NSD tests and laboratory tests, ntholo dries easily but slowly. The laboratory drying lasted 266 h and achieved standard drying quality characterised by 8.9% moisture content, a moisture gradient of 1.2% and a case-hardening (gap) of 1.2 mm. Twist was the largest deformation with 3.4 mm per 1000 mm on average. The assigned schedule provided standard drying quality and it could be tested further in industrial kilns.
The study aimed at treating metil (Sterculia appendiculata K. Schum) and neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss) timber from Mozambique under industrial conditions by steam [Thermowood® (TW)] and vacuum [Termovuoto (TV)] thermal modifications (TM). Matched boards were treated identically and wood alterations in chemistry, colour, mass loss (ML), mechanical properties and durability were compared. The applied vacuum partly removed the acetic acid that causes carbohydrate degradation, i.e. heat applied under vacuum was less destructive. TM under vacuum generated a lighter colour than that caused by steam treatment. ML was significantly higher after the TW process namely, 14.1 vs. 9.9% after thermo-vacuum treatment for metil and 14.2 and 12.1% for neem. Colour and ML changes correlated with the decrease in shear strength, rupture and elasticity moduli and increase in wood decay resistance. Metil wood is more permeable and demonstrated significant differences between the treatments; the thermo-vacuum process was less destructive but led to less improvement of durability compared to TW treatment.
Softwoods (SW, spruce and fir) and hardwoods (HW, ash and beech) were thermally modified by the thermo-vacuum (Termovuoto) process for 3–4 h in the temperature range 160–220°C (TMW160–220°C) and their fungal durability were examined in soil-block tests with two brown rot (BR, Postia placenta, Gloeophyllum trabeum) and two white rot (WR, Pycnoporus sanguineus, Phlebia radiata) fungi. SW-TMW160–220°C were exposed to P. placenta and P. sanguineus and HW-TMW190–220°C to all fungal species. Considerable improvement (durability class 1–3) in decay resistance was only achieved for SW- and HW-TMW220°C. Thermal modification (TM) below 200°C influenced decay resistance negatively in case of some fungal species applied for both SW and HW. Judged by the durability class, decay resistance was higher in HW- than in SW-TMW at high TM temperature. Behavior of TM differed significantly between ash (ring-porous HW) and beech (diffuse-porous HW). A comparison between results of soil- and agar-block tests on Termovouoto wood demonstrated that the influence of testing method in terms of assignment to durability classes is not significant.