The use of zirconium as an inert fixative for borates in preservation
J D Lloyd, J L Fogel, A Vizel
Stand-alone borates have been used in internal protected situations as wood preservatives for about 60 years. They have not been deemed acceptable for external situations because of their leaching characteristics. Work carried out to reduce the leachability of borates has been reviewed briefly here, and a specific fixation agent based on zirconium has been tested in standard leaching and decay tests. It was found that the performance of zirconium could be optimized for fixation at specific drying temperatures and at higher formulation pH. Using sufficient quantities of ammoniacal zirconium carbonate and potassium zirconium carbonate such formulations are then able to pass both Standard European and American Wood-Preservers' Association methods designed for testing exterior wood preservatives. Formulations based on borate with a zirconium additive are probably suitable for use in exterior above ground and possibly ground contact situations. As only initial indicative tests have been carried out so far, further testing with a range of wood destroying organisms and field tests should be carried out to evaluate this system further.