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Wood modification with alkoxysilanes

Donath, Steffen, Militz, Holger, Mai, Carsten
Wood science and technology 2004 v.38 no.7 pp. 555-566
Coriolus versicolor, air conditioning, cell walls, condensation, durability, gels, hydrolysis, microorganisms, silicon, soil, sol-gel processing, weight loss, wood, wood properties
Wood was treated with three different alkoxysilanes which are able to undergo a sol–gel process: tetraethoxysilane (TEOS), methyl triethoxysilane (MTES) and propyl triethoxysilane (PTEO). Two types of treatments were compared: impregnation of fibre saturated wood with monomeric silane solutions, and impregnation with pre-hydrolysed partly oligomeric silanes. Wood properties such as cell wall bulking, anti-swelling efficiency (ASE), moisture uptake and durability were more significantly improved in samples treated with monomeric silanes than in samples treated with oligomeric silanes. SEM-EDX mapping showed that this treatment resulted in a higher degree of silicon incorporation into the cell wall, although the weight percent gain (WPG) was lower compared to the treatment with pre-hydrolysed partly oligomeric silanes. The resistance against soil micro-organisms was enhanced in the initial phase of incubation especially in those samples treated with organo-functional-alkoxysilanes. In miniaturised block tests with the white-rot basidiomycete Trametes versicolor, an improved durability was observed within the test period. During an air conditioning step, a weight loss of the treated samples occurred which was accompanied by a reduction in bulking and ASE. The initial reduction of moisture uptake observed after treatment diminished almost completely. This effect was explained by an ageing of the gels in the wood cell wall which is a consequence of uncompleted hydrolysis and condensation of the silanes during the treatment.