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Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592
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New Insight into Wood Damage Mechanisms

The ability of chemicals to move in cell walls enables fastener corrosion and decay to occur. Stan Lebow, USDA Forest Service
The ability of chemicals to move in cell walls enables fastener corrosion and decay to occur. Stan Lebow, USDA Forest Service
Snapshot: Wood fails because bad things start to happen when wood gets wet. Dimensional stability, mold growth, fungal attack, fastener corrosion, all are caused by fluctuations in moisture or an abundance of moisture in the wood. This research presents a new theory to explain the microphysical processes that happen in the wet wood which lead to the onset of these damage mechanisms.
Summary:

The movement of chemicals through wood is necessary for decay and fastener corrosion to occur in forest products, but the mechanism responsible for the onset of fastener corrosion and decay in wood is not known. The onset occurs before the formation of free water in wood cavities and aqueous chemical transport would be possible. Forest Service research shows that the onset mechanism is the hemicelluloses going through a moisture-induced glass transition. As nanometer-scale regions of mechanically softened hemicelluloses in cell walls percolate, pathways for chemical transport are created. The ability of chemicals to move in cell walls enables fastener corrosion and decay to occur. This mechanism suggests that wood treatments preventing the glass transition of hemicelluloses will inhibit fastener corrosion and wood decay. The identification of this mechanism should accelerate the development of wood treatments to improve forest products durability.
Princpal Investigator(s):
 Jakes, Joseph
 Zelinka, Samuel L.


Research Location:
  • Forest Products Laboratory


External Partners:
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison

Fiscal Year: 2014
Highlight ID: 588
 
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