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Individual Highlight

A percolation model for water and electrical conduction in wood with implications for durability

Schematic of the innovative impedance spectroscopy experiments performed at the US Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory that showed electrical conduction in wood is governed by percolation theory. Forest ServiceSnapshot : Recently, researchers at the Forest Products Laboratory and University of Wisconsin have developed a new model of electrical conduction in wood that provides a good fit to experimental data, offers insight into the mechanism of conduction, and integrates well with other experiments that probe the structure and dynamics of water in wood.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Zelinka, Samuel L.Glass, Samuel V.
Research Location : Wisconsin
Research Station : Forest Products Laboratory (FPL)
Year : 2010
Highlight ID : 154

Summary

Recently, researchers at the Forest Products Laboratory and University of Wisconsin have developed a new model of electrical conduction in wood that provides a good fit to experimental data, offers insight into the mechanism of conduction, and integrates well with other experiments that probe the structure and dynamics of water in wood. The key to this new model is a percolation threshold-a minimum moisture content necessary for ionic conduction in wood. Physically, the percolation threshold is the minimum moisture content where there is a continuous path of 'free' water in the wood. The percolation threshold was found to be below the fiber saturation point, which has profound implications for wood durability issues caused by an abundance of water. The percolation threshold is consistent with previous experiments on electrical properties and may be the key to understanding wood other properties that exhibit discontinuous behavior below the fiber saturation point such as longitudinal shrinkage, mold growth, and corrosion of fasteners.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • University of Wisconsin

Research Topics

Priority Areas

  • Resource Management and Use
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