Wood furfurylation process and properties of furfurylated wood

IRG/WP 04-40289

M Westin, S Lande, M Schneider

The first processes for “furfurylation” of wood (wood modification with furfuryl alcohol) were developed several decades ago. Furfuryl alcohol is a renewable chemical since it is derived from furfural, which is produced from hydrolysed biomass waste. Over the last decade modernised processes for furfurylation of wood have been developed. These new processes are based on new catalytic systems and process additives. Two main processes for production of furfurylated wood have been developed for WPT (Wood Polymer Technology ASA) by the authors – Kebony 100 for high modification levels of hardwoods and VisorWood for lower modification levels of pine. Commercial production according to the Kebony process has been running since August 2000, mainly for flooring. A small Kebony production plant is now in operation in Lithuania. A larger Kebony/VisorWood production plant started up in September 2003 in Porsgrunn, Norway. Several new plants operating according to the VisorWood process, each with an annual capacity of 10 000 m³ or more, are under construction. The properties of furfurylated wood depend on the retention of grafted/polymerised furfuryl alcohol (PFA) in the wood. At high modification levels (high retention of PFA) the enhancement of a wide variety of properties are achieved: an exceptional hardness increase, exceptional resistance to microbial decay and insect attack, high resistance to chemical degradation, increase in MOR & MOE, and high dimensional stability. At lower modification levels many property enhancements also occur, however to slightly lower extent. Notable are resistance to microbial decay and insect attack, increase in MOR & MOE, and relatively high dimensional stability.

Keywords: Furfurylation, furfuryl alcohol, durability, field test, ground contact, above ground, marine borers, ENV 807

Conference: 04-06-06/10 Ljubljana, Slovenia

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