Effect of chemical modification and heat treatment on biological durability and dimensional stability of Pinus roxburghii Sarg.

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Ajmal Samani
Sauradipta Ganguly https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9190-2621
Sanjeet Kumar Hom


biological durability, chemical modification, citric acid, dimensional stability, Oligoporus placenta, sodium hypophosphite


Background: Depleting supplies of wood species with inherent natural durability has resulted in the focus being shifted to non-durable plantation grown and imported timber. Despite its abundant availability and better treatability, the use of Pinus roxburghii is limited to packing cases, crates, shutters, door and window frame, carpentry and joinery items due to its nondurable nature. Hence, to promote use of such timber for applications such as decking, cladding and facade elements chemical modification with a combination of citric acid and sodium hypophosphite, and heat treatment were explored to improve its service life.

Methods: Chemical modification was performed using a water solution of citric acid (6.9%) and sodium hypophosphite (6.5%) followed by curing at 140°C for 8 hrs. Dimensional stability was determined by estimating the volumetric swelling coefficient and anti-swelling efficiency (ASE) of treated and control samples. Durability against fungus and termites was evaluated using a soil block bioassay and termite mound test as per standard methods.

Results: Both chemical modification and heat treatment of P. roxburghii resulted in enhanced dimensional stability and biological durability compared to the untreated controls. Chemical modification and heat treatment resulted in 23.05% and 18.37% volumetric ASE, respectively. Results showed that a highly perishable species became significantly more durable after chemical modification, exhibiting 5–6 times less mass loss by termites in comparison to the controls. Wood samples modified with citric acid showed excellent resistance to both white and brown rot fungi and exhibited 14-15 times less reduction in mass compared with untreated samples.

Conclusions: Citric acid chemical modification is an environment friendly process that improved the dimensional stability as well as resistance against biodegradation. These studies may provide valuable inputs to establish this mode of chemical modification as a cost-effective alternative to other chemicals for wood preservation. The concentrations of the chemicals and temperature for fixation may be varied to establish an optimum combination for best output.

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