The effects of preservative treatment and exposure to wood degrading fungi on fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) materials used for structural wood reinforcement

IRG/WP 01-40204

C Tascioglu, B Goodell

Glass fiber reinforced phenolic (GFRP) composite materials are becoming increasingly accepted for use in the construction industry because they combine advantages of both wood and advanced polymeric materials. Addition of only 1-3% FRP in the tension zone, for example, can typically improve the strength of the hybrid system by 200%. As more applications are found for wood/FRP hybrids, (e.g. laminated wood for bridge applications, waterfront piers) their use in exterior and high-decay-hazard environments would be expected to grow. Since FRPs were designed to be used with wood material for use in exterior exposures, they will be exposed wood preservative chemicals, and to wood decay fungi as well. Therefore, currently developed glass-fiber reinforced phenolic polymer materials for wood reinforcement were examined to determine the effects of wood preservative chemicals and exposure to wood degrading fungi. Several common wood preservative chemicals (oil-and water-borne) were used for treatment of FRP materials. While chemically "fixing" preservatives resulted in significant strength loss, oil-borne preservatives systems did not affect the mechanical properties of the FRP material. When the common brown and white rot fungi (Gloeophyllum trabeum and Trametes versicolor) were used for fungal exposure studies, after 24 weeks of exposure G. trabeum exposed FRP coupons showed reduction in interlaminar shear strength. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and fluorescent photomicrograph 58 analysis supported the mechanical test results, indicating that fungal growth and possible consumption of organic sizing material on the wood/fiber interface had occurred. Further studies are underway with different organisms to provide a more detailed explanation of biodegradation mechanisms of FRP composites for wood reinforcement.


Conference: 01-05-20/25 Nara, Japan

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