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Effect of oil impregnation on water repellency, dimensional stability and mold susceptibility of thermally modified European aspen and downy birch wood

Ahmed, Sheikh Ali, Morén, Tom, Sehlstedt-Persson, Margot, Blom, Åsa
Journal of wood science 2017 v.63 no.1 pp. 74-82
Betula pubescens, Populus tremula, biocides, dimensional stability, humans, hygroscopicity, propiconazole, toxicity, tung oil, wood, wood preservatives
Conventional chemical wood preservatives have been banned or restricted in some applications due to human and animal toxicity and their adverse impact on the surrounding environment. New, low-environmental-impact wood treatments that still provide effective protection systems are needed to protect wood. Thermal modification of wood could reduce hygroscopicity, improve dimensional stability and enhance resistance to mold attack. The aim of this study was to investigate if these properties enhanced in thermally modified (TM) wood through treatments with oils. In this study, TM European aspen (Populus tremula) and downy birch (Betula pubescens) wood were impregnated with three different types of oil: water-miscible commercial Elit Träskydd (Beckers oil with propiconazole and 3-iodo-2-propynyl butylcarbamate, IPBC), a pine tar formulation and 100% tung oil. The properties of oil-impregnated wood investigated were water repellency, dimensional stability and mold susceptibility. The treated wood, especially with pine tar and tung oil, showed an increase in water repellency and dimensional stability. However, Beckers oil which contains biocides like propiconazole and IPBC showed better protection against mold compared with pine tar and tung oil. To enhance the dimensional stability of the wood, pine tar and tung oil can be used, but these oil treatments did not significantly improve mold resistance rather sometimes enhanced the mold growth, whereas a significant anti-mold effect was observed on Beckers oil treated samples.