The effect of storage or simulated internal use on the durability of wood based panels to decay fungi
S F Curling, R J Murphy, J K Carey
Wood based panels such as particleboard and medium density fibreboard are experiencing a steady increase in use, in areas from structural to decorative applications. Understanding the "natural" durability of these panel products against basidiomycete fungal decay is therefore of great importance. Various methods have been proposed or are under development to test the durability/susceptibility of various panel products to decay. Our research has shown that if the fungal exposure methods detailed in the current European pre-standard (DD-ENV 12038:1996) are used to test boards fresh from manufacture, the susceptibility ratings observed are significantly lowered by the buildup of inhibitory substances in the test vessels. The effects of storing the boards before testing, in order to remove this effect have been studied with repeat biological tests carried out at intervals of 6 months. Our results show that even after 6 months storage the effect is reduced but not totally removed. The time after manufacture and the storage conditions are clearly significant variables affecting the "durability" of test specimens taken from the boards and therefore the incorporation of an appropriate preconditioning stage into the test is essential so that the effect is avoided.