Climate indices at work: Above ground decay L-joint tests (EN 330 and AWPA E9) at two sites 12000 km apart and with Scheffer climate indices of 60-65 and 300-330

IRG/WP 96-20095

A F Preston, K J Archer, D M Roberts, J K Carey, A F Bravery

Matched sets of Scots pine sapwood (Pinus sylvestris) L-joints were exposed above ground at two field sites for approximately five years. One site, at Garston, Watford, UK has a climate index between 60 and 65 while the other, close to Hilo, HI, USA has an index between 300 and 330. The joints were treated with a range of organic solvent treatments applied either by three minute dip immersion or by double vacuum. Untreated joints were installed at each site as control material. All samples were assessed at approximately annual intervals at both sites. After five years, decay at the Hilo site is well advanced with failure apparent in many joints, both untreated and treated. As would be expected given the climatic differences, decay at the Garston site has progressed more slowly than in Hilo. Differentiation in treatment performance was apparent after one year's exposure in Hilo with similar differentiation becoming apparent after five years' exposure in Garston. This acceleration correlates well with the difference in Climate Index for the two sites as calculated using the Scheffer method. Encouragingly, the performance ranking of the different treatments at the two sites was very similar. The results of this test suggest that the concept of using high decay hazard sites for field testing of treated wood products for use in above ground situations can provide meaningful results in a short period, and may offer a timely and realistic alternative to relative preservative testing to that achieved in laboratory test regimes. The results also show that above ground field testing at both of the sites included provide valuable information on preservative performance, and this information is likely to provide a greater degree of realism than is possible using pure culture laboratory test procedures.


Conference: 96-05-19/24 Guadeloupe, France

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