High-energy multiple impact (HEMI)-test – Part 2: A mechanical test for the detection of fungal decay

IRG/WP 06-20339

C R Welzbacher, C Brischke, A O Rapp

The suitability of the high-energy multiple impact (HEMI)-test for detection of early fungal decay was examined. The HEMI – test characterizes the treatment quality of thermally modified wood by stressing the treated material by thousands of impacts of pounding steel balls. This method differentiates between heat treatment intensities, which are expressed by structural changes of the wood. Similar changes of the wood structure are known for wood decayed by fungi. Pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) decayed by brown rot and beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) decayed by white rot were tested. Mass loss caused by fungal decay and the resistance to impact milling (RIM) determined in HEMI-tests were found to be highly correlated. Testing of non-degraded pine, beech, and ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) showed only marginal effects of wood density on RIM. Furthermore, annual ring angles and RIM of spruce (Picea abies Karst.) were found to be not correlated. Accordingly, the detection of strength reduction of decayed wood is not masked by variations in density and orientation of the annual rings. Previous results showed no adverse effects of weathering on RIM. Thus, the detection of fungal decay with HEMI-tests is feasible, not only for laboratory purposes, but also for wood in outdoor applications, which was already weathered.

Keywords: brown rot, crushing, dynamic strength properties, early decay, test method, thermal modification, treatment intensity, white rot

Conference: 06-06-18/22 Tromsoe, Norway

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