Effect of fatty acid removal on treatability of Douglas-fir
S Kumar, J J Morrell
Treatment of Douglas-fir with chromated-copper-arsenate (CCA) poses a major challenge. Several hypotheses based on the anatomical aspects as well as chemical reactivity of the preservative formulations with cell wall constituents and deposits have been proposed. Techniques to prevent pit aspiration or slow fixation reactions have, however, not significantly improved treatment. The presence of high molecular weight fatty acids have been reported to be responsible for higher hydrophobicity in some wood species. These acids can react with Cu+2/Cr+3 ions to form insoluble metallic soaps, thereby immobilizing Cu/Cr and increasing wood hydrophobicity by a mechanism similar to that employed in paper sizing. The effect of fatty acids on treatability was explored by removing these components via several extraction methods. In general, extracted wood had higher gross solution absorptions and chemical retentions, but preservative penetration was largely unaffected. The results suggest that removal or disruption of fatty acids can improve treatability of Douglas-fir heartwood.