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Individual Highlight

Lumen filling and sol-gel reinforcement of the wood cell wall

Surface color of modified (B, C, D) and unmodified (A) western red cedar before (0 h) and after (720 h) of artificial weathering in a WeatherOmeter. Steve Schmieding, Forest ServiceSnapshot : FPL researchers used a two-prong strategy to enhance weathering properties of wood. This dual treatment showed promise in protecting wood against the combined effects of sunlight and moisture.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Ibach, Rebecca E.Tshabalala, Mandla A.
Research Station : Forest Products Laboratory (FPL)
Year : 2011
Highlight ID : 305


Although wood remains the building material of choice in residential construction, it also has poor durability and dimensional instability. For above-ground exterior applications such as deck flooring, important properties are hardness and weathering resistance. To improve these properties, researchers modified wood with acrylic polymers to slow the moisture sorption and improve its surface hardness and with a hybrid inorganic-organic thin film to improve its photostability. Modification of the wood was accomplished by in situ polymerization of acrylic monomers in the lumens and voids of the wood. Deposition of the hybrid inorganic-organic thin film in the cell walls of the outer layers of the wood was accomplished by sol-gel deposition from a water-borne sol of silsesquioxane oligomers. Results indicate that some sol-gel systems have potential to improve color stability of wood-polymer composites and the order of treatment is important.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Western Redcedar Lumber Association

Program Areas