Effect of protective additives on leachability and efficacy of borate treated wood

IRG/WP 02-30290

A Mohareb, J Van Acker, M Stevens

Borate preservatives have been used extensively in many countries as an effective means for protecting wood against fungal and insect attack especially in interior environments. Under exterior conditions, borate compounds have a main disadvantage as they can be leached from treated wood as a result of their water solubility. In this study, we compared the potential of different additives for reducing the leachability of boron preservatives from treated wood. Scots pine sapwood (Pinus sylvestris) and poplar (Populus trichocarpa x deltoides) test samples were vacuum treated with 1 % BAE (Boric Acid Equivalent) disodium octaborate tetrahydrate (DOT) solutions containing various additives e.g. glycerol/glyoxal, polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVPY), a commercial resin compound and a commercial water repellent. The European Standard EN 84 was used as a leaching test for both coated and uncoated specimens. The results of chemical analysis of leachates taken at different periods showed that the use of protective additives reduces the boron leachability. The glycerol/glyoxal additive applied to treated pine sapwood showed the best performance. The percent of boron retained in uncoated pine sapwood was 26% while coated samples still retained 45% after 14 days of intense leaching. Similar tests on poplar revealed 19% and 34% for uncoated and coated samples, respectively.This represents a gain of 20 to 25% compared to pure DOT treated specimens of both wood species. Preliminary biological tests were carried out on malt agar using a miniblock technique for uncoated pine sapwood and beech, with Poria placenta and Coriolus versicolor, respectively. After six weeks of exposure to fungal attack all boron protective systems tested proved their effectiveness, as none of the test samples exhibited a mass loss exceeding 4%. The reference 1% BAE without protective additives showed an average mass loss of 15%. Finally, test data are reported of standard EN 113 testing in view of a further evaluation of the biological efficacy of combined DOT-additive treatments.

Keywords: Borate, leachability, additives, exterior conditions, glycerol/glyoxal, efficacy

Conference: 02-05-12/17 Cardiff, Wales, UK

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