Assaying Pentachlorophenol-treated Wood Using XRF

IRG/WP 07-20362

H M Barnes, C R McIntyre, D W Bullock , M H Freeman, G B Lindsey

A study was conducted to evaluate the effect of oil type on the performance of test posts treated with oil-penta and exposed in DeQueen, AR for forty years in ground contact. The original assays for the poles were done by lime ignition, a practice used sparingly today in treating plants or by independent inspectors, in part due to the complicated analysis procedure and chances for error. XRF instruments for chlorine analysis have become commonplace. The question put forward by many inspectors, agencies, and treaters is ‘Will XRF accurately predict lime ignition results?’. This study encompassed seven different oil systems. Regression analysis yielded an R2 value over 97% when using XRF to predict lime ignition values. The only caveat was that a proper calibration standard was required for the XRF analysis. Users should be confident that properly derived XRF values will match lime ignition values within 5%.


Keywords: pentachlorophenol, hydrocarbon solvent, xray fluorescence spectroscopy, aromatic oil, paraffinic oil


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