Evaluation of fungal infestation and decay in a simulated use class 3 situation (block test) after some years of exposure
A Gellerich, K Röhl, S Adamopoulos, H Militz
The so named “block test” was designed as part of the assessment methodology for testing the behaviour of natural and modified wood used under use class 3 (EN 335-2) conditions. The test was developed to expose the wood close to the ground to an environment with high humidity and high biological activity, but not in soil contact.
The present study describes the evaluation of fungal infestation and decay of untreated samples in different blocks depending on their exposure time, positioning within the block and wood species.
After 4 years outside exposure samples showed visible signs of decay. The highest rate of decay was visible in the middle layers of the block. After 7 and 8 years outside exposure, samples of all layers were infested with a similar intensity of different types of decay.
The results have shown that in the bottom layer close to ground the major type of decay is white rot as well as white rot in combination with soft rot. In contrast, samples from the middle layers and top layer were infested mainly by brown and white rot but also soft rot was observed.
The test setup is according the definition of use classes a method for use class 3 applications because the samples are out of ground contact. But the infestation of samples in all layers by soft rot indicated that under use class 3 test conditions but with elevated moisture conditions soft rot attack can occur and should make part of a proper test design.
Keywords: testing, durability, use class 3, block test, fungal decay, light microscopy