Microwave Modification of Bamboo Culm to Improve Permeability

IRG/WP 12-40592

K Sugiyanto, P Vinden, G Torgovnikov, S Przewloka

Bamboo is a woody, valuable and strong material that has been used for a long time. In spite of its numerous beneficial properties, bamboo is susceptible to attack by fungus and insect therefore preservative treatment is regarded as necessary. Preservative treatment must provide sufficient uptake and even distribution in the culms for adequate protection. The treatability of dry bamboo, however, is generally poor. In dry state, distorted structure of bamboo nodes obstructs liquid penetration. Recently, microwave technology was evaluated for improving wood permeability. Microwave significantly improves wood permeability as a result of the modification. Microwave applicator where wood meet the waves was designed to suit heating purposes. Specially designed PC-1 applicator was developed for bamboo culm modification. The applicator allows microwave energy to heat the culm walls and not specifically heat the centre. This paper is studying the use of microwave technology for bamboo culm to improve its permeability. It includes comparing the conventional and PC-1 applicators for bamboo treatment. The results show that the PC-1 applicator allows surface modification of bamboo and creates short fractures that allow liquid to penetrate into the culm walls without necessarily filling up the central hollow section. Microwave energy modification of 0.05 kWh achieved optimum fractures for greatest uptake (173.59 kg/m3), which is about three times greater than non-modified samples.

Keywords: bamboo, preservation, permeability, microwave, applicator

Conference: 12-05-06/10 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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