Properties of water steam-treated maple wood (Acer pseudoplatanus L.)

The hydrothermal treatment of maple (Acer pseudoplatanus L.) wood by steam represents the modification method with the effective heat transfer, which can improve industrially significant properties of wood, i.e. its color, hydrophobicity and subsequently dimensional stability. The maple wood was modified by steam at 125°C during 8 hours, and at pressure of 0.18 MPa. The water contact angle of steam-treated maple wood increased from 44.9° (for untreated maple wood) to 55.3° (for steam-treated maple wood), and the stability of water drop on steam-treated maple wood surface increased. FTIR spectra show an increase in C=O and glycoside bonds concentration on the surface of steam-treated maple wood, but the concentration of C-O-C groups decreased. SEM micro photos confirmed the deformation and shrinking of maple wood cells due to steam treatment. XPS measurements confirmed, that the concentration of oxygen as well as C=O and C-O-O groups on the surface of steam-treated maple wood showed a slight decrease in comparison with pristine wood sample.

Changes in physical-mechanical properties and chemical compositions of Toona sinensis wood before and after thermal treatment

Vacuum heat treatment was used to improve the dimensional stability of Toona sinensis wood in this study, the shrinking and swelling rates, the physical-mechanical properties, and the chemical compositions before and after the thermal treatment were evaluated. The results revealed that the volume shrinkage and swelling rate for the heat-treated wood samples were decreased by 45.60% and 49.95%, respectively at 220°C for 6 h indicating that thermal treatment could obviously improve the dimensional stability of Toona sinensis wood. Thermal treatment also decreased the mechanical strength. The surface color was changed by the treatment. The chemical composition results showed the decrease in density and mechanical strength was due to the partial degradation of hemicellulose during the treatment. The results of this study that vacuum heat treatment could improve the dimensional stability by sacrificing somewhat mechanical strength, the treatment conditions mainly the temperature should be properly controlled to archive an optimized improvement in dimensional stability with minimum reduction in mechanical strength.

Effect of water leaching on photodegraded poplar wood monitored by IR spectroscopy

Poplar (Populus x euramericana cv. pannonia) samples were irradiated using ultraviolet light emitter mercury lamp. Other series of specimens were treated with the combination of UV radiation and water leaching. The total duration of UV radiation for both series of specimens was 20 days. The total duration of water leaching was 10 days. One cycle of the combined treatment consisted of 2-day UV radiation followed by one day water leaching. The IR measurement was carried out after both UV radiation and water leaching to monitor both effects separately. Lignin degradation of water leached samples was found to be greater than that of the solely UV treated samples. The guaiacyl and the syringyl lignin showed similar degradation properties. The unconjugated carbonyl groups generated by the photodegradation proved to be the most sensitive chemical components to leaching. As a consequence of photodegradation, two absorption bands of unconjugated carbonyl groups were grown up at 1715 and 1759 cm-1 wavenumbers. The band at 1759 cm-1 was much more sensitive to water leaching than the band at 1715 cm-1. Ten days of water leaching was long enough to remove all unconjugated carbonyls generated by the photodegradation. The water was able to leach out carbonyl groups (absorbing at 1745 cm-1) originally presented in poplar wood as well.

Energy potential of the Fischer-Tropsch fuel produced from spruce wood

The Fischer-Tropsch process is a chemical reaction that enables liquid hydrocarbons to be produced from coal, natural gas, or biomass (e.g. wood). The heat of combustion and effective heat of combustion are important data for fuel used to produce energy. The usefulness of a particular fuel for society is usually evaluated on the basis of the energy returned versus the energy invested (EROI) = energy recovered/energy invested. The subject of the research was the product of a Fischer-Tropsch synthesis from a synthesis gas, which was produced through the liquefaction of sawdust from spruce wood. The synthesis took place in the reactor FIX BED at a temperature of 220 to 350°C and a pressure of 2 to 3 MPa (the hydrogen to carbon monoxide ratio was approximately 2:1). The Fischer-Tropsch fuel that was produced had a heat of combustion of 27.79, effective heat of combustion 25.14 and an EROI coefficient of 2.39.

Freeze-thaw pretreatment of poplar sapwood dust

The paper is focused on the effect of freezing and cyclic freezing-thawing pretreatment of poplar sapwood (Populus alba L.). The experimental comparison was carried out by the sawdust fraction 0.7 mm as (a) water-saturated and (b) dry. Monosaccharide yields, as well as an amount of acetic acid, were measured after 6, 24, 48, 72, and 96 hours of enzymatic hydrolysis with 15% load of the enzyme measured to total cellulose content. The influence of freezing rate on total yields was observed on equally prepared samples with different weights (31 g, 25 g, 62.5 g, 125 g, 250 g, 500 g, and 1000 g) by “cubic” tests. To increase the efficiency of pretreatment, a cyclic freezing-thawing experiment at temperatures -20°C and +25°C was performed. The results show that single freezing of grounded poplar sapwood impregnated by water or dry in its matter is not a sufficient pretreatment method, so cyclic freeze-thaw is needed to enhance the yield of monosaccharides. Analysis of cubic test showed that slower freezing process has a positive effect on enzyme accessibility.

Moisture at contacts of timber-concrete element

The subject of the article is to monitor the changes of moisture on the contact surface concrete and timber part of the composite timber-concrete beam. The moisture directly affects the properties of timber and causes its volume changes and degradation processes. These effects reduce of durability and load capacity of the structures. The beam was placed at the exterior. The observed contacts of the beam are often critical on real structures, as it is difficult to repair and maintenance in the case of increasing moisture or intrusion of dirt. The experiment was used to monitor and evaluate the dependence of changing moisture in contacts depending on ambient environmental conditions.

Axial mechanical properties of small-diameter round timber short columns after exposure to elevated temperatures

A total of forty-eight specimens were tested, including forty short timber columns at elevated temperatures and eight short timber columns left untreated at ambient temperature. The main parameters explored in the test include column heights (135, 180, 225 and 270 mm), elevated temperature duration (10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 min) and section form. It was found that two new failure modes were generated after the specimens exposed to the elevated temperatures: splitting failure and bottom crushing, and the ultimate bearing capacity of the specimens with bottom crushing is the lowest. The ductility of circular specimens increases with the increases of column height. When the elevated temperature duration reaches 50 min, the plasticity of the specimens basically subside. The ultimate bearing capacity of the timber columns decreases with the increase of the elevated temperature duration and the maximum reduction is about 60% percent.

Xylogenesis and phloemogenesis of Norway spruce in different ages stands at middle altitudinal zone

This study aimed to determine the influence of the stand age and selected weather conditions on the cambial activity, xylem and phloem formation and their development. For the analysis, microcores were taken weekly from two corresponding stands of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) with various ages (35- and 106-years-old) during the growing season 2012 in the Czech Republic. Young specimens were characterised by higher cambium activity; however, more considerable variation and imbalance were found there. In old trees, delayed processes during the development of the xylem and phloem at the cell level were proved. The cambium activity started in March till mid-April, and it lasted for 22 weeks in both cases. The commencement of xylogenesis was established in the first half of May. In both investigated stands, the fully lignified ring was observed at the end of October. For the creation of most xylem cells, it was required 124 and 121 days in the young and old stands, respectively. Daily increment of 0.57 (young) and 0.49 (old) cells on average was observed during the active xylem growth. The relationship between air temperature and wood cell formation for both age groups was recorded. The precipitation influenced wood development just in the case of the young trees. Phloem formation was resistant to external influence according to the Pearson correlation coefficient.

Optimization of cutting speed and clearance angle in the disc chipper

The wood chipping system in a disc chipper Carthage-Norman was studied. The study showed many operational problems related to obtaining chips of different length in the process of wood chipping. Excessive amount of fines and pin fractions were produced in the chipper. The reason for this was the too high cutting speed of the logs and the wrong clearance angle in the chipper. The actual and optimal distribution of the cutting velocity occurring on the chipper knife was determined using the Matlab/Simulink model. In addition, optimal clearance angles in the chipper were determined using the model.

Effect of heat treatment and wax impregnation on dimensional stability of Pterocarpus macrocarpus wood

In order to improve dimensional stability and control deformation, heat treatment (HT) and wax impregnation (WI) were conducted to large size boards (LB) of Pterocarpus macrocarpus and the tangential swelling were compared in various relative humidity (RH) conditions. The results show that the tangential swelling and shrinking of control group and treated group performed differently corresponded to various relative humidity (RH). Comparing with control group, the swelling ratio of HT combined WI group was much less, and followed by 180°C-3h HT group. The maximum swelling ratio decreased by 31% and 29% in humidity chamber and indoor conditions respectively. The swelling ratio was affected by size of samples, LB showed smaller welling ratio than small sample. Wax filled in cell cavities and presented uneven distributions after impregnation. The rate of wood hygroscopicity was reduced after HT combined WI treatment which was an effective method on improvement of wood dimensional stability.

Bending moment resistances of L-shaped furniture frame joints under tension and compression loadings

Effect of wood species, joint techniques, and adhesive type on bending moment resistances were investigated. 480 L-shaped joint specimens were tested including 2 loadings, 4 wood species, 3 joint techniques, 2 adhesives, and 10 replications. Specimens were prepared from Scotch pine, Oriental beech, oak, and chestnut. The joint techniques were dowel, half lap and open mortise and tenon, and type of adhesives were polyvinyl acetate (PVAc) and polyurethane (PU). Bending moment resistance of the joints under compression ranged from a low of 60 Nm for Scotch pine dowel joints with PVAc to oak half lap joints a high of 281 N.m w/PVAc. Bending moment resistance of the joints loaded in tension ranged from a low of 230 N.m for scotch pine dowel joints w/PVAc and to a maximum of 917 N.m for oak half lap joints w/PVAc. Highest average moment resistance was achieved with oak half lap jointed specimens w/PVAc, under both loadings.

Box-Behnken design for process parameters optimalization of bamboo-based composite panel manufacturing

High performance bamboo-based composite panel taking bamboo mats, bamboo curtains and poplar veneers are used as raw material, is manufactured from the each layers slab was crisscrossed, impregnated with phenolic resin, compressed and cured. The product was optimized by Box-Behnken model design and data analysis. The results show that the best parameter conditions were hot pressing temperature of 140°C, hot pressing time of 94, and hot pressing pressure of 2.5 MPa. The model was validated according to the optimal process parameters and the static bending strength (MOR), elastic modulus (MOE), thickness expansion rate of water absorbing, adhesive strength and density are 98.95 MPa, 8.81 GPa, 4.7%, 1.25 MPa, 0.89, respectively. The actual value is close to the predicted value, confirming that the obtained model can accurately predict the MOR of the product using the three factors of hot pressing as variables under different conditions.

Aboveground biomass basic density of hardwoods tree species

The influence of tree species on basic density of wood, bark and small-wood was investigated here. Experimental material was obtained from 73 trees of 7 tree species, namely alder (Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn.), beech (Fagus sylvatica L.), birch (Betula pendula Roth.), hornbeam (Carpinus betulus L.), Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.), Sessile oak (Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl.) and Turkey oak (Quercus cerris L.) from the territory of Slovakia. Wood and bark samples were taken from discs cut from three trunk sections and from small-wood and branch parts coming from tree crowns. The volume of green samples was measured in graduated cylinders with a precision of 1 ml; a dry matter was measured with a precision of 0.01 g. The statistically significant effect has been shown in tree species, biomass fractions and locations on the tree. The average basic density of all species varies from 440 to 650 kg.m-3 for wood, for bark it is 380-670 kg.m-3 and for small-wood outside bark it reaches 490-650 kg.m-3. Alder and Black locust tree species have the lowest and highest wood density, Black locust and Turkey oak of bark and alder and Turkey oak of small-wood.

Optimisation of acid hydrolysis in ethanol production from Ampelodesmos mauritanicus (Diss)

In this work, statistical modeling and optimization of hydrolyzate from Ampelodesmos mauritanicus (Diss) using 1.5% sulfuric acid hydrolysis was carried. A central composite design (CCD) model was used to study the influence of reaction temperature (70°C to 110°C), ratio (5% to 15%, w/v), and reaction time (60 to 180 min). Reducing sugars, pH, proteins, lignin, ash content and the elements minerals composition were determined. Optimized reducing sugars yield of 0.249 g.g-1 of dry weight was obtained for reaction time of 180 min, reaction temperature of 110°C and ratio 5% (w/v). Therefore, this study tests the production of bioethanol from pure Diss hydrolyzate by the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae ATCC 9763. This strain showed a consumption of 67.6% of reducing sugars available (25 g.L-1), which made it possible to obtain ethanol yield per consumed sugar 0.33 g.g-1.

Short note: Virgin cork, a possible environmentally friendly by-product of the cork with acoustic properties for its use inside dwellings?

This paper is a first study to evaluate the acoustical performance of virgin cork environmentally friendly by-product of the cork that can be used inside dwellings. To obtain the acoustical performance of the virgin cork, previously, it was properly treated and flattened into slabs, and later compared to commercial rock wool. The results obtained showed that this material, specially treated and added in some building system, could show good acoustic properties with a certain broadband absorption spectrum.