Advantages of heat treatment of wood

Wood is a natural material with incredible properties, which can only release all its charm if properly treated. Among the characteristics of this material there is in fact a rich presence of water, oxygen and sugars, which make it particularly appreciated by parasites. The attack of these agents can compromise the stability of the structure if at least one of the three factors is not eliminated.

In the case of internal components, the control is carried out through the internal humidity, which must not exceed 12%, while in the external part it is essential to act on the sugar present rather than on water and oxygen.

Some solutions involve the use of quinic substances, which poison the food present, such as boron salts, copper sulphates and creosote. The problem is that these components are chemical and toxic to humans as well.

An interesting and completely natural alternative is that proposed by heat treatment, a procedure that does not poison the food present in the wood but rather eliminates it considerably. This is possible thanks to the high temperatures which burn the sugars present, making them no longer available for the parasites.

Heat treatment is a natural process that subjects the wood to a drying cycle at temperatures between 165 and 220 degrees, in a controlled and oxygen-poor atmosphere.

Thanks to this system, the physical and mechanical properties of the wood are modified, resulting in positive effects both in terms of resistance and durability.

Physical properties of heat treated wood
Thanks to heat treatment, dimensional stability is improved as the volume of the material itself decreases. In fact, the high temperature leads to the deterioration of the hemicelluloses, substances attractive to insects and lignivorous fungi, reducing the woody part more reactive towards water. Furthermore, temperatures up to 220°C change the color of the wood making it take on darker shades of brown that are perfectly homogeneous along the whole board.

Mechanical properties of heat treated wood
On a mechanical level, the crystalline structure of the cellulose is modified to the point of decreasing the yield of the wood due to its greater stiffness. Once treated, the use of this material for load-bearing structures is not recommended, as it is more fragile and less resistant.

On the other hand, drying prevents swelling and shrinkage of the material exposed to atmospheric agents.

The main advantage deriving from the thermo treatment of wood consists in the elimination of the sugars present in it.

As we have already seen, it is precisely the combination of water, oxygen and food that favors the proliferation of fungi and molds inside the material, compromising its structure.

This is certainly not a novelty in the sector, but a process that companies that have been involved in the sector for years, such as WDE Maspell, carry forward with passion and constancy to provide companies engaged in woodworking with ever more performing and innovative machinery.

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Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
Business And Features Writer


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