The Effect on Biological and Moisture Resistance of Epichlorohydrin Chemically Modified Wood

IRG/WP 02-40224

R E Ibach, B-G Lee

Southern pine solid wood and fiber were chemically modified with epichlorohydrin to help in understanding the role of moisture in the mechanism of biological effectiveness of chemically modified wood. The solid wood had weight gains from 11% to 34%, while the fiber had weight gains from 9% to 75%. After modification, part of the specimens were water leached for 2 weeks or extracted for 2 hours with a toluene:ethanol (2:1) solution. The equilibrium moisture content (EMC) at 30%, 65%, and 90% relative humidity (RH) and 27 °C was determined on all specimens. Laboratory soil block decay testing using the brown-rot fungus Gloeophyllum trabeum was performed and weight loss calculated. Results show that epichlorohydrin modified specimens did not lower the EMC significantly, yet there was biological effectiveness at 31% weight gain for the solid wood and 60% weight gain for the fiber. This indicates that the mechanism of efficacy may be due to substrate modification rather than moisture exclusion. Energy dispersive x-ray analysis (EDXA) was performed locating the chlorine throughout the wood cell wall.

Keywords: Chemical modification, epichlorohydrin, equilibrium moisture content, brown-rot fungus, energy dispersive x-ray analysis, solid wood, fiber

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

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