Main content area

Developing treatment protocols for disinfesting pine wood product using radio frequency energy

Zhao, Liang, Wang, Shaojin
European journal of wood and wood products 2018 v.76 no.1 pp. 191-200
Pinus, air, electrodes, energy, forestry, heat, insect pests, international trade, introduced species, protocols, radio waves, sustainable technology, water content, wood, wood moisture, wood quality
Numerous non-native insect pests are moved around the world via international trade and have caused major forestry losses, especially for pine trees. The purpose of this research was to study a potential application of radio frequency (RF) heating for disinfesting pine wood products to reduce forestry damage caused by exotic pests. A pilot-scale 6 kW, 27.12 MHz RF system was used to develop a treatment protocol for disinfesting pine wood products based on the heating uniformity studies. The results showed that the heating time needed was only 6.7 min to heat the wood blocks (250 × 400 × 60 mm³) with moisture content of 13.3% d.b. from 25 to 60 °C using RF energy, but 320 min to reach 56.2 °C using hot air at 60 °C with 1.6 m/s. Based on the heating uniformity study, the best condition occurred when the lower wood moisture content was used and the wood width approached the RF electrode one. The RF treatment protocol was finally developed to combine RF energy with forced hot air at 60 °C, movement of conveyor at 7.4 m/h and holding at 60 °C hot air for 1 min. Wood quality was not affected significantly by the RF treatments because quality parameters of treated wood samples were similar to those of controls. The RF treatment may provide a rapid, effective and environmentally friendly method to disinfest wood products.