You are here: Home / Research Topics / Research Highlights / Individual Highlight

Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

New Insight into Wood Damage Mechanisms

Photo of The ability of chemicals to move in cell walls enables fastener corrosion and decay to occur. Stan Lebow, USDA Forest ServiceThe ability of chemicals to move in cell walls enables fastener corrosion and decay to occur. Stan Lebow, USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : Wood fails because bad things start to happen when wood gets wet. Dimensional stability, mold growth, fungal attack, fastener corrosion, all are caused by fluctuations in moisture or an abundance of moisture in the wood. This research presents a new theory to explain the microphysical processes that happen in the wet wood which lead to the onset of these damage mechanisms.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Jakes, JosephZelinka, Samuel L.
Research Location : Forest Products Laboratory
Research Station : Forest Products Laboratory (FPL)
Year : 2014
Highlight ID : 588

Summary

The movement of chemicals through wood is necessary for decay and fastener corrosion to occur in forest products, but the mechanism responsible for the onset of fastener corrosion and decay in wood is not known. The onset occurs before the formation of free water in wood cavities and aqueous chemical transport would be possible. Forest Service research shows that the onset mechanism is the hemicelluloses going through a moisture-induced glass transition. As nanometer-scale regions of mechanically softened hemicelluloses in cell walls percolate, pathways for chemical transport are created. The ability of chemicals to move in cell walls enables fastener corrosion and decay to occur. This mechanism suggests that wood treatments preventing the glass transition of hemicelluloses will inhibit fastener corrosion and wood decay. The identification of this mechanism should accelerate the development of wood treatments to improve forest products durability.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison

Strategic
Program Areas

Priority
Areas