Thermal treatment of Nigerian-grown Albizzia zygia and Funtumia elastica wood in soy oil medium.
Thermal treatment in soy oil medium is one of the techniques used as a substitute to the chemical treatment in wood preservation. However, the effects of this technique vary from one species to another and hence the need to investigate the response of individual species to it. Thermal treatment of air-dried Nigerian-grown Albizzia zygia and Funtumia elastica wood was carried out in a vessel containing soy oil at a temperature of 220°C for 2hours. This was followed by the determination of hygroscopy and swelling by water soaking method; surface energy by the sessile drop contact angle method; pH and buffer capacity by the cold extraction method.
The process of soy-oil thermal treatment resulted in significant reductions in hygroscopy, swelling properties and pH in both species with accompanying increase in buffer acid and alkaline buffer capacity. The surface energy which is an indication of wettability was reduced in Albizzia zygia but increased in Funtumia elastica. The reductions in hygroscopy and pH are indications of cellulose degradation during the heat treatment process leading to build up of acid formation. The reduction in hygroscopic behaviour indicates potential for stability in wood-water relationship especially when the material will be used in a continuously-changing ambient environment. The reduction in surface energy in Albizzia zygia implies that soy-oil-thermally modified wood from this species will have reduced interfacial attractions with most chemical adhesives. On the other hand, the increase in surface energy in Funtumia elastica shows possibility of improvement in the level of interfacial attractions between wood (substrates) and adhesives. The reduction in pH in both species is expected to have a two-way effect; a benefit through reduction in adhesive curing time and an adverse effect through expected reduction in strength properties.