Accelerated anti-termite laboratory tests, simulation of field conditions and assessment of results for service life

IRG/WP 94-20034

P K Sen-Sarma

Termites are one of the most serious biodegrading agents in the tropics. Though some species of termites occur in the warmer temperate regions, only a few species can withstand the rigours of colder regions. Testing of termite resistance of material is done either by field tests or by accelerated laboratory tests. Field tests, though realistic to assess service life, are elaborate, take a long time and are meant only against subterranean termites. The field tests also represent the collective and commulative effects of all kinds of abiotic and biotic degrading factors. Thus, results of field tests does not necessarily represent only termite resistance, as other biodegrading agents also operate in the field. In contrast, laboratory tests need short duration (10 days to a few months), are not elaborate, represent primarily termite resistance, are easily repeatable, tests are done under standardised conditions which permit formulating national and international standards. The last but not the least, the results can be presented in quantitative terms. However, laboratory tests are often handicapped due to lack of adequate technology to culture all species of termites that destroy material in the field and some of the biotic and abiotic factors are difficult to simulate under laboratory condition with unquestionable fidetily without which service life of a material can hardly be predicted accurately. Further, precise knowledge of social and biological behaviour of tests termite species toward the test material is an important factor in the laboratory culturing and testing. The test termites should also possess certain attributes like tolerance to fluctuations of temperatures and relative humidities, lower toxicities and short duration starvation. Laboratory tests need similar and uniform tests conditions to obtain comparable and repeatable test results. The paper deals with a review of various laboratory test methods in vogue in different countries and delineates simulation of field conditions and discussion on assessment and interpretation of results to predict service life.


Conference: 94-05-29...06-03, Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia

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